October 9, 2012 (JUBA/PARIS) – France and United Nations condemned a mortar attack launched by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) on Kadugli Monday where six civilians were killed and 22 others wounded.
- South Kordofan State in red (Disputed Abyei Area in pink)
The attack, which coincided with Monday’s planned launch of a peace conference in South Kordofan, saw UN staff in Kadugli relocated to the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei base as a precautionary measure.
The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) said eight shells has been fired from about six kilometers outside the state capital, killing one woman. Spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid said the SPLM-N had tried but "failed" to target the political conference.
The SPLM-N denied this in a statement claiming it was aiming for military targets in response to SAF’s "extensive shelling".
U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan has condemned Monday’s indiscriminate mortar shelling in South Kordofan state capital, Kadugli, describing it as “reprehensible” and a “violation” of international humanitarian law.
Ali Al-Za’tari’s comments comes after mortar rounds landed near a local school and a local police station, affecting a UN facility as well.
In Paris, the French government on Tuesday condemned the SPLM-N’s attack and urged both sides to start serious political negotiations, in accordance with resolution 2046 of UN Security Council.
"We are concerned by this new surge of violence which could undermine the positive dynamic between Sudan and South Sudan after the signing of 27 September," partly reads a statement released by the foreign ministry in Paris.
The French government further called on all the parties to implement the African Union proposals to end the crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, while urging the Sudanese government to implement, without delay, the agreement allowing humanitarian access into the region.
Sudanese government and SPLM-N rebels, in line with the African road map have to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict based on a framework agreement inked on 28 June 2011 but scrapped by President Omer Al-Bashir.
SPLM-N spokesperson, Arno Nugutolo Lodi, said that the attack was a retaliation to the bombardment campaign carried out by the Sudanese army on their positions.
Arno in statements to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat said the shelling of Kadugli is part of a military plan conceived by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu, SPLM-N deputy leader, to move the fight to the positions of Sudanese governments.
"The plan aims to overthrow the regime, in line with the charter of the (Sudanese) Revolutionary Front, which provides to use all the means against the regime including armed struggle and peaceful demonstrations." Arno stressed.