In December, Nuba Reports recorded more than 450 bombs, rockets and artillery shells dropped on civilian targets – the most in a single month since the war began. January shows no sign of slowing down.
In the first week of January there have been daily bombing runs around the towns of Mendi and Ngartu, just west of Talodi. Starting January 4, Nuba Reports journalists recorded three to four shells every five to ten minutes throughout the day.
The attacks increased after Sudan launched a summer campaign to retake SPLA-North positions around Daloka, a strategic plateau overlooking the the South Kordofan capital. The SPLA-North repulsed major attacks around the first week of December. Shortly after, bombing began across Buram, Heiban, Kadugli and Um Dorein, hitting hundreds of houses, farms and markets.
In the town of Katcha, on December 20, bombs hit a school as children were preparing for class. Ashia Tutu – a Katcha resident – nearly lost her son, Abu Tallib.
“When the bomb hit I was at home,” she said. “When the MiG [jet] fired the rockets I started running toward the school to find my children.”
But when she arrived, she couldn’t find Abu Tallib. “I ran down the mountain and that is when I found some people that told me that my son was wounded and that they carried him to the clinic.” She ran to the clinic as fast as she could.
Twenty-seven bombs hit Katcha that day. Abu Tallib was one of three civilians wounded. Two other children – 13 year old Ezikiel Tia and eight year old Osama Sillimon – were killed. Another student, a pregnant woman and an SPLA soldier were also wounded.
The next day, on December 21, artillery shells from Kadugli hit Famma village. Twenty-seven year old Hachim Kuwa and his 23 year old wife Kaka Jihadia were both killed, and their two children were injured. The family’s home was also destroyed.
Eight more bombs were dropped on Famma village five days later. No deaths, injuries or damages were reported from that assault.
Across towns and villages in South Kordofan, many have have similar stories from the past six weeks.
In conjunction with bombing runs, fighting between the government and the rebels has opened up into two fronts – to the south and the east of Kadugli.
In an exclusive interview with Nuba Reports, SPLA-North field commander Brigadier General Kuku Idriss said the SPLA-North has suffered casualties on both fronts.
“There is no war without casualties,” he said, “[but] the government has not seized Daloka. The government is in a place called Gardud.” Idriss said the SPLA-North was also in control of the areas around Bilenya and Roseires. A Nuba Reports journalist recently traveled to the Daloka, Roseires and Bilenya areas and confirmed the Brigadier General’s claims.
Idriss also accused the Sudanese government of recruiting children to fight the rebels in South Kordofan. To support his claim, Idriss presented pictures of young-looking soldiers in Sudanese Armed Forces uniforms, as well as identity cards of the alleged child soldiers. The accusations could not be independently verified.