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‘Sudanese forces used people in Wad Abuk as human shields’: SPLM-N

June 28 - 2015 BLUE NILE
Resident of Blue Nile state on the run (file photo)
Resident of Blue Nile state on the run (file photo)

An investigation committee of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has accused government forces of using civilians in the area of Wad Abuk, Blue Nile state, as human shields, and recruiting members of pastoral tribes to support Sudanese army operations. An estimated 8,600 people have fled Wad Abuk.

The investigation committee was formed by Zayed Eisa Zayed, Secretary-General of the SPLM-N Blue Nile section, after attacks by government forces on civilians in the area of Wad Abuk, in Bau locality, during the second week of June.

According to the committee, led by Yousef El Hadi Yousef, rebel forces entered Wad Abuk town, after they had seized four military sites without little resistance. Residents of Wad Abuk testified to the committee that the rebel leaders explained them their mission, and reassured them that they would be left in peace.

The rebels then withdrew, to prevent more casualties among the population during retaliation attacks by government forces. During their withdrawal, they clashed with a group of paramilitaries, “wearing civilian clothes, and armed with Kalashnikovs”, stationed in tents in the forest near Wad Abuk.

The committee reported that despite the withdrawal of the SPLM-N combatants, random attacks on the area continued. The area continued to be shelled by artillery, and bombed by various fighter jets of the Sudanese Air Force for days. Hundreds of people were killed and wounded, most of the houses went up in flames, and the majority of the population fled.

Human shields

In its conclusion, the committee accuses the government forces of using civilians as human shields, and of using members of pastoral tribes in the area as “a source of information”, and recruiting them to confront the rebel fighters.

The committee furthermore calls for the formation of an independent international commission of inquiry on the attacks against civilians, as well as a mechanism to bar government forces to set up military bases near residential sites. An international and regional campaign should be initiated to stop air raids on civilians. Also, a mechanism is to be created to identify and monitor safe corridors for relief operations.

8,600 displaced 

The Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and national NGOs have conducted a mission to the area of Wad Abuk, to assess the needs of the people displaced there because of the fighting. 

According to the mission findings, an estimated 8,600 people fled Wad Abuk. Of these people, 4,000 fled to the villages of Kambo Kamis, Khor Aldalib and Khor Albokas in Bau locality. The remaining estimated 3,600 people fled to Guli town in El Tadamon locality. 

The displaced in Guli town are in urgent need of food assistance, while those in Bau locality lack food, water and emergency household supplies, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humantarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in its latests weekly bulletin. 

According to HAC and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) , the security situation is returning to normal in the area of Wad Abuk, and displaced people are starting to return to their home villages. 

Meanwhile, aid organisations continue to advocate with local and federal authorities to enhance operating conditions in Blue Nile state for international humanitarian organisations.

 


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