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Sudan’s army denies using cluster munitions in South Kordofan

May 27, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The spokesperson of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad, has emphatically denied allegations of using cluster bombs in fighting against rebels in South Kordofan State.

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FILE PHOTO - Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad (GETTY)

Last week the London-based Independent newspaper published two photos of unexploded cluster bomb allegedly dropped by a Sudanese warplane on 15 April in Ongolo village in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan.

The pictures identified the bomb as "a Soviet-made RBK-500 cluster bomb containing AO-2.5 RT submunitions".

Cluster bombs are a type of explosive weapon which scatters sub-munitions or bomblets over an area. The use of cluster bombs is prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) which, since its adoption in May 2008, has been signed by 71 country states not including Sudan, China and the US.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based advocacy group, issued a statement urging Sudan to probe the discovery and join the CCM.

But according to Al-Sawarmi, SAF does not even have cluster bombs to use them in South Kordofan, where it has been battling rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North since June last year.

“Whether or not we end up joining the international treaty that bans cluster bombs, the fact remains that we never use them in our military operations and we don’t have them to begin with” he said in statements published by local newspapers on Sunday.

The rebels accuse SAF of continuous aerial bombardment and use of weapons prohibited under international laws.

(ST)