Flash Update: Cluster Bombs Dropped in South Kordofan

2 June 2015

Here we reproduce, with permission, an update received by email from the South Kordofan Blue Nile Coordination Unit documenting attacks in the Nuba Mountains at the end of May. 

“The civilians of the Nuba Mountains  region continue to be the victims of aerial bombardment from the Sudan government. 

–      25 MAY: At approx. 12:30, two SAF jet fighters dropped three bombs that landed in Kauda on civilian locations (on a church/school compound and on a residential house) and on the civil administration headquarters of the SPLM-N. The bombs killed one girl, wounded her mother, and destroyed the house. Another child that was injured in this aerial attack died on 27 May.

–      25 MAY: At approx. 13:45, a drone flew around the area, and circled over Kauda several times. These drones provide both high resolution photographs and GPS data when they return to their SAF bases.

–      27 MAY: At approx. 07:30, two jet fighters dropped four cluster bombs in Kauda. All four landed in populated  residential areas and all four bombs contained submunitions, but the bombs did not deploy the submunitions properly.

–      27 MAY: At approx. 11:00, an Antonov dropped  at least twelve bombs near around the “Wednesday Market” of upper Kauda. Three people were injured and some  livestock were killed. 6 houses were totally destroyed including all of the food stocks and personal belongings of the owners, leaving them not only utterly destitute as the hunger season peaks but very likely, unable to cultivate in order to produce food stocks for the following year. These households may feel their only  option for survival  is to now make the long journey on foot to Yida in Unity State, South Sudan.

The blatant brutality of these attacks on unambiguously  civilian targets is extremely worrisome.  It is assumed that the bombing runs were based on the GPS and photographic information gathered by the drone flight on 25 May. The Antonov bombs targeted a weekly market at the time when it would be most populated, by traders and customers, mostly women with young children. That casualties were miraculously low is  attributable in large part to  the effective training given by local civil society on self-protection measures.

 The four Soviet-made RBK-500 cluster bombs dropped on May 27 contain AO-2.5 RT submunitions which are intended to deploy over 100 individual submunitions, each of which according to the manufacturer’s claim, has a killing radius of up to 20 meters. Thus each bomb has a “deadly footprint” of up to 4,800 square meters.  In the densely populated areas of Kauda, one can find up to 10 homes in such an area, each with 5-10 people: a high proportion of whom are women and children. If the cluster bombs had deployed properly, the fatalities and injuries would have been utterly horrific – these bombs were dropped at a time when family members  are all still at home getting ready for the day, children waking up, people walking between houses to get water, start cooking fires and tending to livestock.

If the continuation of such human rights violations is to be stopped,  it is critical that sufficient national, regional and international pressure be brought to bear on the Sudan government immediately. Our concern is that unless the Government incurs much greater political costs from such actions, we will continue to see many more such incidences over the coming days, weeks and months. The enormous luck which kept casualties so low last week cannot be expected to last.”

Pictured below: a partially exploded bomb within a village. 


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