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Kadugli Bishop Appeals to UN to Stop Sudanese Bombings

Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Kadugli, Sudan, testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, August 4, 2011

The Anglican bishop of Kadugli in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state has appealed to the United Nations to send a fact-finding team to investigate credible reports of mass graves and other serious crimes against civilians allegedly committed by Sudanese forces there.

Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail, the Anglican Bishop of Kadugli, detailed the deteriorating situation in his home state at a news conference on Friday.

“In my diocese, my offices all they were burned, and also the cyber café with all computers was burned. And my house was shot at and other denominations of churches were burned," he said. "As I speak now, the Catholic Church in Kadugli is occupied by the military. And many people have been killed. They are culling people from house-to-house. Also, some of my congregations, they give me very clear what they saw in the mass graves in Kadugli. And also there was some satellite image was brought to confirm what eyewitnesses they have saw.”

He warned that in the Nuba mountains, which is home to many pro-South Sudan groups, the situation is worsening with aerial attacks that are killing civilians. He added that this is the planting season and warned that the people of Southern Kordofan could face serious food shortages next year because so many have fled and there is no one to farm.

“There is a lot of killing going on and we consider this is ethnic cleansing, so that is why we are calling on the U.N. and the Security Council to consider what is going on in Sudan,” he said.

Reverend Andudu appealed to the U.N. Security Council to stop the bombing and authorize a fact-finding commission to go to Southern Kordofan to verify what is happening there. He also urged the council to press Khartoum to allow in humanitarian agencies to bring food and medicine to those in need and to authorize monitors to watch the situation.

Sudan's southern Kordofan is governed by Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Human rights groups say as many as 200,000 people have been displaced by fighting between Khartoum's army and pro-southern elements in Southern Kordofan which broke out on June 5. Activists say Sudan's military is targeting the state's ethnic Nuba people, many of whom backed the south during the 21-year civil war.

Satellite Image of alleged mass graves in Kadugli in Sudan's South Kordofan State, July 2011
Satellite Image of alleged mass graves in Kadugli in Sudan's South Kordofan State, July 2011

Jonathan Hutson of the Enough Project’s Satellite Sentinel Project told reporters that satellite imagery corroborates eyewitness reports of systematic killings and mass burials. He said the evidence is consistent with allegations that the Sudan Armed Forces and northern militias have engaged in a campaign of killing civilians in Southern Kordofan.

“This is a state-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign where the government of Sudan is killing its own people through a campaign of artillery shelling, aerial bombardment, and house-to-house killings,” he said.

Last month, a leaked draft U.N. report said Sudan's army and police may have committed war crimes in Southern Kordofan. But Khartoum has dismissed the report saying the information is biased and untrue.

Currently the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is preparing to leave the country. Khartoum said it no longer wanted a U.N. presence in the country after the south became independent on July 9.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to discuss Sudan next Thursday, and could receive a briefing on the situation in Southern Kordofan at that time.