Sudanese Air Force Bombs Church Complex in Nuba Mountains

Family able to escape house in compound.

Thousands of Nuba Mountain civilians have taken from government bombing in caves (Diocese of El Obeid photo)

Thousands of Nuba Mountain civilians have taken from government bombing in caves (Diocese of El Obeid photo)

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – The Sudanese Air Force dropped four bombs on an Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) complex in the Nuba Mountains on Friday (Oct. 10), church leaders said.

“The bombs have completely destroyed our church compound in Tabolo,” the Rev. Youhana Yaqoub of the ECS in Al Atmor, near the Tabolo area in South Kordofan state, told Morning Star News. “A family living at the church compound miraculously escaped the attack, although their whole house and property were destroyed.”

Kamal Adam and his family thanked God for their safety as they watched their house burn from the bombing, he said.

Sudanese Armed Forces supported by the Sudanese Air Force had destroyed the ECS church building in Al Atmor in a bombing on July 6, sources said. Last week Russian-made Antonov planes of the Sudan government bombed villages near Kuwalib in the Nuba Mountains, but no injuries were reported, a Christian aid worker told Morning Star News.

Since the beginning of September, Sudan has dropped 19 bombs on South Kordofan villages where only civilians were present, Christian sources said.

Since Sept. 24, Sudan has dropped four bombs on farms in the Mardis area and six bombs on the village of Um Heithan in Delami County. In Um Serdiba village, the government dropped five bombs, and in Al Nougra village four bombs targeted livestock, sources said.

Since South Sudan split from Sudan in a 2011 referendum, Nuba people in Sudan’s South Kordofan state believe the government’s goal of quashing Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) rebels is also meant to rid the area of non-Arabs and Christianity. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said post-secession Sudan will adhere more exclusively to Islam and Arabic culture.

A Sudanese government soldier on July 12 shot a Christian, a member of the ECS, near his farm in South Kordofan state, seriously wounding him, church sources said. Akhnouk Jamal, 27, sustained wounds on his back and upper part of his stomach when a soldier opened fire on him as he picked wild fruit near his land in Losher, west of Al Atmor, a church source told Morning Star News.

Nuba Reports, based in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan’s South Kordofan state, has verified 1,929 bombs dropped by  Sudan since April 2012. Of those, 756 were dropped since September 2013.

Thousands of civilians have taken refuge in Nuba Mountain caves in South Kordofan, which borders South Sudan. The Nuba people have longstanding complaints against Khartoum – including neglect, oppression and forced conversions to Islam in a 1990s jihad – but as Sudanese citizens on the northern side of the border, they were never given the option of secession in the 2005 peace pact between northern and southern Sudan.

The rebels in the Nuba Mountains were formerly involved with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces fighting Khartoum before the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Fighting between Sudan and South Sudan broke out in June 2011, when Khartoum forcefully attempted to disarm the SPLA-N in South Kordofan by force rather than awaiting a process of disarmament as called for in the CPA. When the CPA was signed in 2005, the people of South Kordofan were to vote on whether to join the north or the south, but the state governor suspended the process.

Sudan’s bombing of civilian targets in the country’s Nuba Mountains May and June killed at least 10 Christians, sources told Morning Star News. Four children and an elderly woman were among the victims of bombings in South Kordofan state as part of the regime’s plan to rid the country of Christians, mostly black ethnic Nuba, in an effort to render it solely Arabic and Islamic, Sudanese Christians say.

Church leaders and aid workers told Morning Star News that Sudan’s bombings of civilian areas in its war with the SPLA-N killed 14-year-old Abdo al Nour and Abdel Rahman Hassan, 15, in the village of Um Serdiba on June 13. In the same area on May 20, according to the sources who requested anonymity, a Sudanese Air Force bombing killed 30-year-old Kimmia Calals of the Sudanese Church of Christ, leaving her nursing child motherless.

On June 17 in Tabalo village, a Sudanese bomb from an Antonov plane killed Yasin Salah, 16, and another minor, Ado al Sawaq, the sources said. On June 11 in the same village in Um Dorain County, 80-year-old Amira Ballula was killed when a plane dropped a bomb on her house , they said.

The bombing of civilian targets in South Kordofan state in May targeted the region’s only hospital and damaged an orphanage school and a relief agency, sources said. In Um Serdiba on May 18, Sife El Deen Ibrahim, 40, was killed immediately when a bomb from an Antonov jet hit the Christian’s house, an area church member requesting anonymity told Morning Star News.

Ibrahim left a widow and four children, ages 12, 15, 17 and 20, who were dependent on him for their livelihood, she said.

In Kauda, Antonov planes dropped bombs on the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization, the only humanitarian organization in South Kordofan, in late May, sources said. On May 29, bombing destroyed an orphanage school in Kauda, they said.

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