Sukhoi jets and Antonov bombers have dropped nearly 60 bombs in villages around Kauda , the de-facto capital of rebel held areas in South Kordofan over the last 4 days.
All of the bombs fell on civilian areas, hitting planting fields, destroying a local NGO office, and damaging a school. It is the largest sustained bombardment of civilian targets since the conflict started three years ago. Kauda lies at the center of SPLA-N territory, but far from the front lines where the most rebels forces are stationed.
The barrage of bombs brings the total civilian buildings targeted this month up to five, including the region’s only hospital, two clinics, one school, and the offices of the only local NGO operating in the region.
The assault began on Monday, May 26. Two Antonov warplanes circled that morning, dropping 6 bombs on the headquarters of the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization. One hit the main building, destroying three offices and the equipment inside. The other five fell near the structure. No civilians were injured or killed.
NRRDO is a local Nuban organization that provides food, supplies and support for people whose lives have been affected by the bombings. It is the only organization in the area providing such services. Humanitarian access is blocked in SPLA-N controlled areas, and the NRRDO services are vital to the community.
Twenty-four more bombs fell throughout the day on May 28. One was dropped near a local elementary school. Dr. Tom Catena, the Medical Director of a nearby hospital witnessed the attack. “It fell maybe 20 yards from the school fence. No major casualties. They were definitely targeting the school,” he said. Four goats were killed, and a 13-year old boy suffered a minor head injury.
A total of 25 bombs were dropped May 29 by Sukhoi fighter jets in three rotations, each lasting less than an hour, beginning at 9:50 in the morning. The vast majority of the bombs fell in Kauda’s market area, where residents often shop, drink tea and pray at the local Mosque.
Three parachute bombs were dropped near a clinic in the middle of Kauda. Two of the 500 kg bombs failed to explore. The bombs have cyrillic writing on the side and many villagers are worried they will explode. They add to an increasing number of unexploded ordnance littered across the countryside of the Nuba mountains.
The bombing comes at a critical time for Nubans. The rains have started and planting has begun. The constant bombing has kept many families in their foxholes and nearby caves unable to plant. Because the climate of the Nuba Mountains can only sustain one crop a year, every day is important.