The capital of South Kordofan, Kadugli, witnessed a number of rocket and artillery attacks on Tuesday morning October 23, Radio Dabanga has learned.
Eye-witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the shelling started at 07:00 o'clock on Tuesday morning and continued until 12 in the afternoon. According to eye-witness reports dozens of shells landed in the city center and eastern parts of Kadugli; al-Ma'asara, al-Rabi'a, al-Daraja, al-Masani' and Hai al-Mowazafeen.
Independent sources disclosed to Radio Dabanga that Tuesday's shelling left at least eight people dead and another 15 injured . The sources added that the Sudanese Air Forces intensified their flights in the areas which are currently controlled by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM-N).
They recounted that reinforcements of troops and ammunition for the Sudanese army arrived to the area from Khartoum by air on Tuesday. The reinforcement arrived after troops of the SPLM-N entered the city and clashed with government troops. It was added that the reinforcements are meant to prevent the city from falling into the hands of the rebels, sources added to Radio Dabanga from the outskirts of Kadugli.
On the other hand, onlookers told Radio Dabanga that hundreds of residents fled the city of Kadugli. The onlookers continued that hundreds of people were queuing on the road from Kadugli to Dilling and El-Obeid in an attempt to reach the north. It is worth mentioning that it concerns a vital road in the area, the only tarmac road connecting Kadugli to Khartoum.
The onlookers explained that most of the residents who fled Kadugli got stuck in the area of Kolba, Marta, al-Sha'eer and Kweek due to rumors that the roads are under attack of rebels and the continuing threat of air strikes.
The witnesses also mentioned the city has been deserted by its residents and added that shops, schools and government institutions have closed their doors.
Witnesses confirmed to Radio Dabanga that government authorities have closed down the all entrances and exits of Kadugli, concentrating on the exits to the north. They added that the government troops confiscated the keys of public vehicles, preventing its drivers to assist the exodus of residents towards the north.
In addition, the announcement of local authorities that the salaries of workers in the state will be paid on Thursday and not on Tuesday as previously announced. The witnesses explained that the salaries would be paid earlier due to the start of Eid al-Adha on October 26.
Despite the announcement and the authorities' attempts to lock down the city, residents fled in search of security and protection, the witnesses added to Radio Dabanga from the outskirts of Kadugli.
Sudanese army: 2 killed and 8 injured
Colonel Sawarmi Khaled Saad, official spokesman of the Sudanese army, confirmed the death of two children and the injuring of eight people during the bombings carried out by the rebels. He explained that the shelling was executed from a distance of more than 12 kilometers from Kadugli. Sawarmi disclosed that the attack [also] targeted military checkpoints outside the city, in the area of Umm Sha'aran, al-Ehamer and al-Roseires. He stressed that the attack caused panic and tension among residents which caused them to flee.
Governor of South Kordofan
From his part, Ahmed Haroun, Governor of South Kordofan, stated that the city of Kadugli was exposed to air strikes carried out by the SPLM-N on Tuesday. He continued that the Sudanese army responded to the bombings and managed to stop them. Haroun explained that the Sudanese army is now pushing back, what he called, the enemy. He added that the government troops will “repay the rebels' visit to Kadugli.”
Ngutolo: Kadugli residents used as 'human shield'
On the same topic, SPLM-N stated that the attack on Kadugli was a response to the government's provocations of continuous air strikes and artillery shelling in the area of Lobo and al-Atmor and Umm Sirdiba and all of the neighborhoods of Kadugli.
Lodi explained that SPLM-N troops also targeted a government base in al-Ehamer. He confirmed that the troops were able to hit all of the government sites. He pointed out that SPLM-N troops will not withdraw but, instead, will continue until they have taken over all cities which are controlled by the government and its militias.
Lodi accused the Government of Sudan of using Kadugli's residents as a 'human shield', he added to Radio Dabanga in this regard.