Around 73,000 have been displaced and hundreds feared dead since fighting erupted on 6 June in Sudan’s north-south border state of South Kordofan between north Sudan army known as the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and local forces aligned with Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of South Sudan.
The fighting, which is believed to have erupted over SAF attempts to disarm local fighters in the area, escalated into heavy artillery and aerial bombardment amid reports of widespread abuses committed by SAF against the local Nuba population.
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, called in a statement issued on Tuesday for an end to insecurity and restrictions on movement, saying they continue to limit the ability of humanitarian personnel to assess the situation, to provide people the aid they urgently need, and to re-supply stocks.
Earlier this week, the UN called on Sudan to cease closure of airspace over South Kordofan in order to allow aid agencies to operate effectively.
The official spokesman of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Kouider Zerrouk said in an interview that humanitarian operations in South Kordofan continue to be undermined by the restrictions on movement and closure of airspace.
Last week, the UN strongly condemned the detention and abuse by SAF of four of its peacekeepers who were on patrol in Kadugli.
Amos said that “the threats to aid workers and peacekeepers need to stop immediately.” She went on to say that the treatment of civilians in South Kordofan, “including the reported human rights abuses and targeting of people along ethnic lines, is reprehensible.”
Amos’s statement further warned that the conflict has also prevented sowing at the beginning of the agricultural season which will cause food shortages.
The top humanitarian UN official also voiced concerned that the overall security situation in Sudan was deteriorating at an “alarming rate,” and that civilians are increasingly bearing the brunt of the volatile and uncertain political climate.