Not only has implementation of the memoranda of understanding on access not been implemented, but fighting has flared.
Two months have passed since Sudanese rebels and the government in Khartoum agreed to allow humanitarian groups full access to areas in combat-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, raising hopes that a political settlement to the fighting might follow.
Those hopes have been dashed, however, since not only has implementation of the memoranda of understanding on access not been implemented, but fighting has flared in areas until recently untouched by the hostilities.
Reports out of South Kordofan in recent days say at least two people were killed and perhaps as many as 22 wounded in an exchange of artillery fire when rebels shelled an army garrison outside the town of Kadugli, South Kordofan state’s administrative center. Though military facilities were the rebel’s target, some shells landed in the town center causing the casualties. An earlier attack hit a United Nations compound.
The fighting near Kadugli comes amid a continued campaign of aerial bombings by the Sudanese Armed Forces that has caused hundreds of thousands of people to abandon their homes and flee, resulting in at least 200,000 refugees in neighboring countries. The humanitarian situation through the state remains dire. Innocent civilians – women, children and families- remain caught in the cross-fire.
Fighting between Sudanese forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North erupted in South Kordofan and nearby Blue Nile last summer. U.N officials say that as many as 900,000 people have been displaced or severely impacted.
The United States is deeply concerned by the increase in fighting in the Two Areas, including the Kadugli shelling and continued reports of aerial bombardments by Sudanese Armed Forces. We condemn all attacks on civilian areas, whether by rebel groups or by government troops.
As civilian casualties continue to mount, the continued violence underscores the urgent need to cease all hostilities. We again call on both sides to return to direct talks to settle their differences. There is no military solution to the problems in the border region. We also call on both sides to enable the immediate and safe delivery of humanitarian aid to all conflict-affected people.