Five children were killed, and two injured when an Antonov bombed a crowded market and a nearby home this morning, marking a notable increase in the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.
Nuba Reports arrived on the scene as the neighbors were collecting the childrens’ remains. According to their aunt, their mother has gone “out of sense” with grief and was taken away from the ruined home.
Thursday is market day in Heiban. Farmers and shopkeepers converge on the central square, plying their wares, as people from the area do their weekly shopping. Children scamper between their mothers’ legs, and elders sit under nearby trees, enjoying the shade, drinking tea, talking and taking in the action.
This routine was interrupted Thursday morning when three bombs were dropped on the market, and another about 200 feet away. Villagers ran in different directions, seeking shelter as the bombs destroyed the shops and produce for sale. Twenty-five year old Issa Majar was killed while running for cover. The trees providing comfortable shade were hit.
The fifth bomb hit a house about 50 meters away from the square. Sixteen year old Sria Jali, 14 year old Yaya Jafar, ten year old Aziza Jafa, seven year old Anur Jafar and six year old Kuku James died in the attack.
According to their aunt, who was with them, one of the children was outside whe he heard the bombs at the market. He yelled to his brothers and sisters to leave the house for the family’s foxhole. In the Nuba Mountains, everyone has a foxhole. The children were killed as they were running for safety. Ten year old Nawadir Jafar and five year old Nawa Jafar were injured, they were taken to Gidel hospital for treatment. .
Two homes next door were also demolished, one of which belonged to the village chief. Farms with valuable crops including maize, sorghum and sesame were also ruined, as well as precious livestock. Heiban is familiar with this type of violence: since July of 2012, Nuba Reports has recorded 55 bombs dropped on the village, 15 people have been injured and four have been killed.
After three years of fighting, the people of South Kordofan know that fighting season begins when the rainy season ends. The hot sun dries the muddy earth, easing the way for travel and troop movements. Last year’s season was especially bloody, with almost 800 bombs dropped in the region. Two weeks ago 15 bombs were dropped on the village of Mardes.
UPDATE: Five year old Nawa Jafar died five days after the attack from related injuries. On October 21 an Antonov dropped eight bombs on Heiban. The bombs landed in the market and the surrounding area.