Home | Reports    Tuesday 11 June 2013

Sudan: New evidence of scorched earth tactics against civilians in Blue Nile

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

Sudan: New evidence of scorched earth tactics against civilians in Blue Nile

Amnesty International

August 11, 2013

New satellite imagery and eyewitness testimonies from rebel-held areas in Sudan’s Blue Nile State show that Sudanese military forces have resorted to brutal scorched earth tactics to drive out the civilian population, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

“We had no time to bury them”: War crimes in Sudan’s Blue Nile State documents how bombings and ground attacks by Sudanese military forces have destroyed entire villages, left many dead and injured, and forced tens of thousands to flee — with many now facing starvation, disease and exhaustion.

Evidence gathered by Amnesty International indicates that villages in the Ingessana Hills, an area held for a time by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North (SPLA-N) — endured multiple scorched earth offensives in 2012. Witnesses also described bombing attacks as recent as April 2013 that killed children and other civilians.

Satellite imagery of the Ingessana Hills, showing the destruction of several villages:

“This systematic and deliberate targeting of civilians follows a disturbing pattern that was used by the Sudanese government to devastating effect in Darfur,” said Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher.

“Deliberately attacking civilians is a war crime. Given the scale, as well as the apparently systematic nature of these attacks, they may also constitute crimes against humanity.”

The report also describes how some people had to choose between carrying their children to safety or carrying their elderly parents.

“Faced with attack, aerial bombardment and the prospect of starvation, those who are physically able have little choice but to flee — often after making painful decisions about who among the weakest should be left behind,” said Jean-Baptiste Gallopin.

Some of those who were unable to run because of disability or age were burned alive in their homes; others were reportedly shot dead by Sudanese troops and pro-government militia. In addition, soldiers and militiamen looted valuable possessions, including livestock, before systematically setting fire to houses.

Awadallah Hassan, who fled from his village of Qabanit in the northwestern part of the Ingessana Hills, told Amnesty International:

“My grandmother Weret was blind and couldn’t run. [When we ran away] we thought someone had taken her ... [But] we went back to the village at 5pm and found Weret’s body completely burned. Her body was black.”

At least eight villages* in the Ingessana Hills were destroyed in this way and their inhabitants displaced. Witnesses also reported that a further nine villages** were burned down, although Amnesty International was unable to verify these claims.

The humanitarian situation of those remaining in rebel-held areas is dire. Because civilians are unable to tend their crops without fear of being bombed, food supplies are scarce. Displaced people told Amnesty International that they were often forced to live on poisonous roots that have to be soaked in water for days to become edible.

The organization documented more deaths from hunger, illness, and deprivation than as a direct result of the violence. Children and the elderly, the most physically vulnerable members of the population, are disproportionately hard hit.

The Sudanese government continues to block humanitarian relief to civilians in rebel-held areas.

“By taking the unconscionable decision to bar humanitarian aid, the Sudanese government is once again causing civilian deaths and suffering on a massive scale,” said Jean-Baptiste Gallopin.

“The international community has failed to enforce the International Criminal Court’s indictment of President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. The ongoing violations in Blue Nile demonstrate yet again that it is civilians who pay the price when impunity for war crimes goes unchecked.”

The current violence in Blue Nile began almost two years ago, following the formal secession of South Sudan from Sudan. The Sudanese government is fighting the SPLA-N, a rebel group that emerged in 2011 when the Sudan People’s Liberation Army became the army of South Sudan.

The armed conflict in Blue Nile is closely linked with the conflict in Southern Kordofan but has received much less international attention due in part to the logistical difficulties of travelling to the area.

Amnesty International is calling on the government of Sudan to immediately end indiscriminate aerial bombings and deliberate ground attacks in civilian areas and to grant immediate access to humanitarian organizations.

“Both the UN Security Council and the African Union have been far too preoccupied with relations between Sudan and South Sudan to take effective action to stop the horrific events in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan,” said Jean-Baptiste Gallopin.

“The possibility of a long-term stalemate is extremely worrying. The international community must give this human rights crisis the attention it deserves.”

*Qabanit, Jegu, Khor Jidad, Taga, Kumrik, Marol, Bau and Fadamiyya

**Mirik, Gan, Harra Khamsa Qabanit, Torda, Salban, Filga, Gammar Massoud, Gammar at-Tom, and Abu Garin

The full report can be downloaded here:

PDF - 3.6 Mb
Sudan: New evidence of scorched earth tactics against civilians in Blue Nile Inbox
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


s
Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Perspectives on Kiir and Machar meeting 2018-06-20 22:48:12 By Santino Ayual Bol IGAD which has been facilitating and mediating the slow-heel Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan shortly abbreviated as ARCISS has unilaterally (...)

SLM’s al-Nur’s response to Troika countries about violence in Darfur 2018-06-20 22:02:28 Response by the Sudan Liberation Movement to statement by the United States, United Kingdom & Kingdom Of Norway on cessation of violence in Darfur By Abdul Wahid al-Nur Dear President (...)

Another electoral farce Sudanese should expect in 2020 2018-06-18 02:08:16 Sudanese Elections Scheduled for 2020 will be Fraught with Dangers andCounterfeiting like its predecessors By Mahmoud A. Suleiman The National Congress Party (NCP) regime’s Elections Scheduled (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)

Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)

Abyei celebrates Mine Awareness Day 2018-04-05 08:52:03 4 April 2018 | Abyei - The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.