Marches as SPLM-N El Hilu and army clash in South Kordofan

Women's groups staged a protest in Kadugli, South Kordofan, against the war and against the sexual violence accompanying war (RD)

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) shelled parts of Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan, on Saturday, whilst the army lost terrain in Dalami. Women’s groups staged a vigil denouncing the war and violations against women yesterday. Army supporters also staged a march.

The rebel movement fired about 20 heavy artillery shells at different parts of Kadugli since eight in the morning, most of which fell in the vicinity of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) 55th Infantry Brigade.

Four children were injured in the Um Batta neighbourhood on Saturday morning and people fled from the southern neighbourhoods and the area around the army base to the northern neighbourhoods in search of safety.

Radio Dabanga sources reported that one of the wounded children died in Kadugli Hospital of his wounds yesterday but said that the town did not witness any shooting between the army and the SPLM-N after Saturday’s shelling. Women’s groups did report some artillery shelling, however.

Eyewitnesses told Radio Dabanga that some Kadugli residents marched in support of the armed forces and provided meals to those stationed on the front lines. Most of the young men and women at the march are supporters of the regime of ousted dictator Omar Al Bashir, the witnesses said.

Dalami area

On Friday, the Sudanese army withdrew from Mardis, 20 kilometres southwest of Dalami, which was the last military stronghold of the army in the areas around Dalami in Habila locality, South Kordofan, since 2011.

A security source said that the force withdrew from Mardis and left behind equipment and weapons, including an armoured vehicle, without engaging with the SPLM-N forces.

Army forces withdrew to the base of the 53rd SAF Infantry Brigade in Habila, while others withdrew to the military garrison of Fayu, according to local sources.

Women’s march

Several women’s bodies in Kadugli carried out a vigil at the intersection of El Jamea El Kabeer Street and El Madina Hospital yesterday to condemn the war and the violations against women that accompany the fighting. The protesters called for a comprehensive peace.

Participants in the vigil reported to Radio Dabanga that dozens of women from different women’s organisations in Kadugli participated and brought banners to denounce both the war between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the army and the fighting between the army and the SPLM-N El Hilu.

Security services were deployed during the vigil, but they did not object to the vigil or try to stop the protesters.

One of the participants told Radio Dabanga that protesters feared artillery shelling by the army or the SPLM-N, but this did not happen until the end of the vigil.

The women’s bodies in Kadugli issued an official joint statement rejecting the war in Sudan and in South Kordofan in particular.

The statement condemned “all violations against humanity” committed by the parties to the conflict in Sudan, including killing, looting, rape and violence against women, and the displacement of thousands of families.

It also accused foreign parties of being behind the war and say of having no interest in the security and stability of Sudan.

The organisations called on all parties to the conflict to immediately stop the war, which they described as absurd and destructive, and to take care of the more than 70,000 displaced families in the state.

The war currently also disrupts the agricultural season and hinders the movement of farmers and herdsmen, which damages the local economy and food security.

“The military escalation imposes a complex security reality that impedes the movement of trade, movement, and work, especially for women working in the unorganised sector who were forced to stop working in evening shifts under the emergency law and the ban on Roaming,” the women’s groups explained.