Sudan Air Force jets today rained a barrage of 48 rockets on Kauda, hitting a school and barely missing a crowded market place.
This is the first time in two years the Kauda market was targeted. Since 2011 the Sudan government started bombing communities it views as supporting Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels. Although the area around Kauda is routinely bombed, the sheer quantity of rockets fired today has many citizens of the town worried that attacks will increase.
Although Kauda is the de facto capital of SRF-controlled territory, there no rebel military facilities in the town. The bombing comes at a time when Sudan President Omar Al Bashir claims to be amassing forces to take the city. However recent SAF offensives to the west and east of Kauda have been repulsed by the SRF.
Two Sukhoi jets screamed over the mountains to the north of Kauda at 12:00 noon today. As they dove low to find their targets, shop owners and their customers ran toward foxholes to take cover. The first jet unleashed 12 rockets in a straight line just past the marketplace, hitting a soccer pitch and tearing into a herd of sheep, according to a Nuba Reports journalists who witnessed the attack. In rapid succession, the next jet fired 12 more rockets, destroying the government Ministry of Education office.
As people emerged from foxholes and stood up, the jets circled and headed back toward the town, forcing people to take cover again as each jet launched 12 more rockets. The first barrage struck several colonial-era buildings that were being used for a teachers training institute; the second jet flew just above the market before banking right and unleashing its rockets on a school designated for children who had lost their families in the conflict.
Nuba Reports has recorded a significant increase in bombings over the last two months in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The rocket attack brings the total number of bombings documented in January so far to 120, an increase from 93 bombs in December and 28 in November. The air force in recent weeks has also been using new techniques such as parachute bombs. and these rockets used in today’s attack, which Nuba Reports is working to identify.
The impact of the increased bombings has been especially felt in the remote regions of Abassayia and Rashad. Many civilians there have been displaced from their villages due to fighting and increasing bombing raids. Because of their isolation, communities in these areas are unable to flee to refugee camps in South Sudan. Many have found shelter from the bombs in caves.