May 8, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The American and Canadian embassies in Khartoum have strongly condemned a reported attack by the Sudanese air force on a hospital in South Kordofan.
- Children sit in front of their shelter in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan on 28 April 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
“The embassies in Khartoum of Canada and the United States extend their condolences to the victims of the recently reported bombings of the Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan,” the statement reads.
“Reports indicate a number of bombs were dropped near the hospital on May 1 and 2 by Sudanese Armed Forces aircraft, causing injuries and terrifying patients and staff alike,” it adds.
Nuba Reports, an independent news site reporting on the restive Nuba Mountains area, said that the hospital in Gidel village was bombed last week over a two-day period.
A video uploaded to the website purportedly showed people running for cover during the air raid amid explosions and sounds of fighter jets roaming overhead.
It noted that this hospital is run by the Diocese of El Obeid – one of the few organisations operating in the Nuba Mountains where international aid agencies are banned by the Sudanese government and treats 150,000 patients annually
“[It] is the only hospital facility for the Nuban people who have been cut off from the outside world and greater Sudan by their own government. The only other option is the four to six day walk south to the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. But with South Sudan’s civil war inching ever closer, refugees at Yida are at risk of being caught in the crossfire,” the website said.
The two embassies said that they are “appalled by this attack on those providing essential medical care or humanitarian assistance to people in need. International humanitarian law obligates all parties to a conflict to distinguish civilians from combatants”.
“This latest event only heightens our concerns about the protection of civilians in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, where [the] Sudanese Armed Forces continue indiscriminate aerial bombardments of civilians and civilian areas,” said their press release.
“We call upon the Government of Sudan to account for the apparent targeting of a healthcare facility and its patients. We urge all parties to the conflict to take the necessary steps through the African Union-led effort to achieve a cessation of hostilities and allow for full humanitarian access,” it adds.
Last year, the Sudanese government vowed to crush rebellions in all conflict zones including the one in South Kordofan.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest weekly bulletin that more than 100,000 have been displaced recently in South Kordofan as a result of the fighting between the Sudanese army and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).
Peace talks sponsored by the African Union between the two warring sides were adjourned last month in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, after failing to seal a framework agreement.