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Sudan forces 'burned, looted village'

16 October 2012, 11:01

New York - Sudanese security forces burned and looted a village in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan state in May and filmed the attack, a monitoring group said on Tuesday, providing satellite images, cell phone video and witness accounts to back its claims.

The Satellite Sentinel Project, whose founders include Hollywood actor George Clooney and the Enough Project, said a joint unit of Sudanese police known as Abu Tira, the Sudan Armed Forces and the Popular Defense Forces militia attacked Gardud al Badry on May 18 and then bombarded it with artillery on July 29.

A spokesperson for the Sudan Armed Forces was not immediately available to comment on the accusations.

Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast accused the Sudanese government of committing crimes against humanity through a campaign of targeted violence.

"We are seeing a repeat of Darfur without the international witnesses," Prendergast said in a statement. The United Nations has estimated that around 300 000 people may have died in the Darfur conflict. Sudan has put the toll around 10 000.

"Capturing the burning, razing, and looting ... on video and in satellite imagery adds to mounting, and undeniable, visual evidence of a pattern of indiscriminate attacks and destruction by the government of Sudan against its own people," he said.

Chronic instability

New York-based Human Rights Watch has also accused the Sudan's military of conducting indiscriminate bombings against civilians in the Nuba Mountains.

Rebellions in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, which remained within Sudan's territory after the July 2011 secession of South Sudan, and also insurgents in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, are still stoking the chronic instability that has plagued Sudan since its independence from Britain in 1956.

Khartoum accuses South Sudan of backing the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North), charges dismissed by South's government. SPLM-North accuses the Khartoum of marginalizing border areas, including South Kordofan.

It has formed an alliance with other rebel groups to try and topple the Sudan's veteran President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for masterminding war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

The United Nations is unable to fully verify the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan because of limited access granted by Sudan to it and foreign aid agencies.

- Reuters


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