Bombings in Sudan violated peace deal
JUBA, Sudan — Three bomb attacks in Southern Sudan this month made by aircraft from the northern Sudanese military violated Sudan’s 2005 peace agreement, a joint north-south committee has concluded, a United Nations spokesman said yesterday.
A committee with representatives from the UN mission in Sudan and the northern and southern Sudanese militaries found that the bombings violated the agreement that ended more than 20 years of civil war, said UN spokesman Kouider Zerrouk.
The bombings in western Bahr el Ghazal state happened Dec. 6, Dec. 8, and Dec. 9. No casualties were reported, but they follow multiple bombing runs by the north last month in a disputed region on the border between northern Bahr el Ghazal state and southern Darfur state.
The members of the committee did not characterize the November bombings as a violation of the peace agreement, but both the northern and southern militaries agreed that they were “unfortunate and should not be repeated.’’
The bombings come less than a month before Southern Sudan is scheduled to hold a Jan. 9 independence referendum that is likely to see Africa’s largest country split in two. The 2005 peace accord gives the south the right to the vote. Diplomats, the UN, and the African Union are working behind the scenes to ensure a peaceful referendum.
A reporter visited the sites of the November bombings last week and saw multiple craters and evidence that straw huts burned to the ground after the explosions. Southern military officials said they believed the bombings were provocations intended to ignite conflict and disrupt the referendum.
Thousands of civilians fled the site of November’s bombings, and the southern military brought in three anti-aircraft guns as a defensive measure. The total wounded in the attacks is believed to be from 16 to 22, with 10 to 11 of those being soldiers.
Meanwhile, the UN’s human rights chief said Sudan’s government is blocking aid workers from entering the country ahead of next month’s referendum.