DARFUR, SOUTH SUDAN (BNO NEWS) — At least eight civilians were killed and nearly two dozen others were injured when Sudanese forces carried out airstrikes in the newly-independent nation of South Sudan, officials said on Tuesday.
Sudanese forces have carried out bombing raids in civilian areas of South Sudan since last weekend, including five explosions which hit Bentiu in Unity state and the town of Mayom where a logistics base of the United Nations (UN) Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is located.
According to UN officials, at least eight civilians are believed to have died in the attacks while 22 others were injured, some seriously.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the ‘indiscriminate aerial bombing,’ adding that in the past week, the UN has seen intensified use of Antonov war planes as well as fighter jets dropping bombs and launching rocket attacks, including in areas close to the offices of international organizations.
“Such deplorable attacks must stop immediately,” Pillay demanded, reiterating the UN’s deep concern over continuing hostilities between the two countries, including the impact of the conflict on civilians. Pillay also voiced alarm at South Sudan’s ‘unwarranted occupation’ of the oil-producing region of Heglig in Sudan’s South Kordofan state, as well as reports of a dramatic build-up in the number of northern militia in the disputed Abyei area over the past few days.
In addition, Pillay supported the call by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to convene a planned presidential summit of the two countries as soon as possible. She also called for a renewed commitment, from both sides, to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which formally ended 22 years of civil war between Sudan and South Sudan, before the latter’s independence last year.
UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson also called on both parties to “abide by international human rights and humanitarian law, protect civilians and guarantee the safety of international aid organizations and United Nations personnel and assets.”