Africa

Sudan sends bombers across southern border

By Simon Allison 14 November 2011

Sudan made good on all its war-talk by bombing a refugee camp last week. Nothing unusual there, except for the fact that the camp is in another country – the newly independent South Sudan. Not that Khartoum particularly respects South Sudanese sovereignty. By SIMON ALLISON.

The gigantic Antonovs were a familiar sight during the south’s long, bitter struggle for independence from the greater Sudan. Sudan doesn’t have much in the way of sophisticated jet fighters, so for its bombing runs it uses lumbering old Russian Antonov cargo plans. These swept low over the targeted rebel base/refugee camp/village, rear doors open, and bombs were simply rolled off the back of the plane. Aim is by eye, and accuracy is not good.

Four months after independence, an Antonov made another appearance in the skies above the South Sudan. “…there was a deep and terrifying thud of a nearby explosion,” wrote BBC journalist James Copnall, who was in the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State, where the bombs were aimed. “A large plane glinting silver against the sun was spotted heading to the north…The refugees said the plane had circled, then launched two bombing raids. They said five bombs were dropped, of which four exploded.”

South Sudanese government officials claim 12 people died in the attack. Humanitarian organisations say no one was injured. The Sudanese government says the bombing didn’t happen at all, although there is enough independent verification to make its denial extremely hard to believe; especially after last week’s explicit threats of war from various high-level Sudanese government officials.

Yida refugee camp hosts thousands of people who have fled to South Sudan from Sudan, after the conflict intensified between rebels and the government in the disputed states of Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. This latest cross-border bombing raid is a message to the rebels that Khartoum’s reach stretches into the new country of South Sudan – and there’s not much the south can do about it. DM



Read more:

  • Full scale war looms as Khartoum bombs civilians from the south in the Sudan Tribune;
  • South Sudan Unity state bombing: UN calls for enquiry on BBC News.

Photo: REUTERS

Gallery

Support DAILY MAVERICK & get FREE UBER vouchers every month

An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money, though not nearly as much as its absence can cost global community. No country can live and prosper without truth - that's why it matters.

Every Daily Maverick article and every Scorpio exposé is proof of our dedication to this unshakeable mission. Investing in our news media is by far the most effective investment into South Africa's future.

You can support Independent and Investigative journalism by joining Maverick Insider. If you contribute R150 or more per month you will receive R100 back in UBER vouchers. EVERY MONTH until October 2019.

So, if you'd like to help and do something meaningful for yourself and your country, then sign up to become a Maverick Insider. Together we can Defend Truth.


Spy Tapes and Amazon Clouds

South African at centre of bid for Pentagon data cloud linked to Kremlin insider

By Marianne Thamm

"Housework won't kill you but then again, why take the chance?" ~ Phyllis Diller