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Catastrophe Looms in Southern Kordofan, Rights Groups Say

Residents gather outside United Nations Mission in Sudan sector headquarters, where as many as 40,000 people have fled fighting in the region, in Kadugli town, capital city of South Kurdufan State, Sudan, June 9, 2011 (file photo)

Global human rights monitors, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are jointly accusing the government of Sudan of carrying out war crimes against the civilian population of Southern Kordofan State. They are also calling on Khartoum to give access to humanitarian aid agencies to reach civilians trapped by the fighting between the Sudan armed forces and Sudan People’s Liberation Army-northern sector, in the state.

The two rights groups released a report Tuesday which gives detailed eye-witness accounts of Sudan military aircraft bombing civilian targets in Southern Kordofan.

Human Rights Watch desk officer for Sudan, Jehanne Henry, said she personally witnessed Sudan armed forces bombing civilians in one village in the Nuba mountains region of the state. She said they also have reports of bombing of civilians continuing after Khartoum declared a unilateral cease-fire in Southern Kordofan.

Henry also said the population in areas controlled by the Sudan People Liberation Army-northern sector, mostly in the Nuba mountains, are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. She warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the area.

VOA’s John Tanza reached Jehanne Henry in New York. You can hear his interview by clicking the link below, or at the top right of the page.

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon