Sudan - Two Areas Conflict - 2012
Heavy fighting between the SAF and SPLM-N continued in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in 2012. Both the government and rebel fighters were accused of employing excessive force in the conflict, leading to civilian deaths and displacement. Both SAF and SPLM-N forces were accused of targeting civilians and employing violence indiscriminately. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the fighting created 240,000 refugees from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile since June 2011. In addition to these refugees, the UN estimated the conflict displaced or severely affected 908,000 persons.
The government restricted international humanitarian organizations’ access, making monitoring and verification of human rights abuses difficult. International humanitarian organizations have not had access to rebel-controlled areas of Southern Kordofan or Blue Nile since June and September of 2011, respectively.
SAF air raids resulted in civilian deaths throughout Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. For example, aerial bombardments occurred in Kauda, Dilling, Talodi, Um Durein, and other parts of Southern Kordofan and throughout Blue Nile. On September 27, an air raid on Heiban, on market day, killed at least one woman and injured several others. According to the government, 633 persons have been killed in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states since the fighting began in June 2011.
SPLM-N fighters shelled civilian areas in Kadugli town in October. On October 8-10, the SPLM-N fired five rockets at Kadugli town, killing at least six civilians, according to government sources. In the same attack, two additional rounds landed but did not explode in the UNICEF compound in Kadugli.
On July 6, eight members of the ruling NCP were killed near Dilling, Southern Kordofan, when their convoy was attacked. Among those killed was Ibrahim Balandiya, speaker of the Southern Kordofan Legislative Assembly. It was unclear who was responsible for the attack. On August 5, a World Food Program driver was killed in Southern Kordofan when the vehicle he was traveling in was ambushed. It was unclear who was responsible for the attack.
There were reports of several instances of forced disappearances in the Two Areas conflict. For example, refugees from Blue Nile State reported abductions from the village of Khor Gidat in May. Most abductions involved physical abuse or torture. International organizations were unable independently to verify reports due to lack of access to the region.
All parties to the Two Areas conflicts obstructed the work of humanitarian organizations, UNAMID, and other UN agencies, increasing the displacement of civilians and abuse of IDPs. Violence, insecurity, and the denial of visas and refusal of access to international organizations reduced the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide needed services.
The government permitted some international staff of UN agencies to return to Kadugli early in the year. However, access remained limited since the government denied any UN or international organizations access outside of government-controlled areas, citing security concerns in rebel-held areas.
In February the UN, AU, and League of Arab States, known collectively as “the Tripartite,” presented a plan for humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to the government. In August the government and SPLM-N signed separate memoranda of understanding with the Tripartite accepting its plan. However, by the end of 2012 the plan was not implemented.
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