October 8, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Six civilians all women and children were killed during a mortar attack by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) on Kadugli town, capital South Kordofan state.
- Sudanese children gather outside huts in Kadugli , in Oct 2011 (AFP)
In unexpected move, the SPLM-N rebels who fight the Sudanese army in South Kordofan since more than a year, shelled sporadically the capital of the state on Monday, from the surrounding mountains.
The shelling hit among others, the central market, a school, the radio station, and the premises of UNICEF in Kadugli, and a local police station.
South Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun announced on Monday evening that four women and two girls were killed, adding that 22 other people including ten children and nine women are wounded by the projectiles which exploded in different areas of the town.
Haroun who read the full names of the women and girls killed during the rebel attack said that shells landed near the house of Mak Mohamed Rahal, a traditional leader, Yarmouk primary school and the premises of regional branch of the Bank of Sudan.
The governor added that the assailants meant to send a wrong message to say "we are here". He was alluding to a peace conference gathering over 600 people held in Kadugli to discuss the issues of the region and ways to settle it before to engage negotiations with the rebel SPLM-N.
Al-Sawarmi Khalid, spokesperson of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) said a group of the SPLM-N infiltrated in the area and shelled the eastern suburb of Kadugli, located six kilometres from the regional town.
The military spokesperson said the rebels targeted a consultative conference attended by political figures from the ruling party and other political forces, stressing they failed to achieve their aim.
SPLM-N spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi confirmed the attack on the capital of South Kordofan, pointing out it was in retaliation for previous attacks carried out by the Sudanese army against their positions without elaboration.
However the rebel official failed to explain the death of civilians, reaffirming they were targeting military sites.
He also denied in statements to Reuters, that they meant to derail the peace conference.
Badr El-Din Ahmed Ibrahim, spokesperson of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) condemned the attack and described it as "desperate attempt" by the rebels to obstruct the implementation of security arrangements signed recently with the South Sudanese government.
He added that the attack hit South Kordofan civilians who want peace and stability in the state, emphasising that the shelling would not stop the peace process with the South Sudan.
UN CONDEMNS THE ATTACK
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, condemned the "indiscriminate mortar shelling" by the Sudanese rebel in Kadugli.
"This attack on civilian and UN premises is reprehensible and constitutes a violation of International Humanitarian Law," said Mr Al-Za’tari in a statement issued on Monday.
A UNICEF official told Reuters that one or two shells landed inside the compound of the international organisation. Ray Torres, officer in charge at UNICEF, however underlined that the projectiles did not explode.
Another official from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Damian Rance, told the AFP that all UN staff in Kadugli were evacuated to another base located between Kadugli and the local airport and used by UN peacekeepers.
In additions to UNICEF and WFP, UN bases in Kadugli harbour also Ethiopian members of UN peacekeeping mission, UNISFA, operating in Abyei area.
Al-Za’tari said that UN staff have been reported injured, pointing out that "UN staff in Kadugli have been relocated to the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei base as a precautionary measure."