Published: 12:00 GMT Daylight Time - Wednesday 17 October 2012
Christian mother killed in Sudanese bombing of Nuba Mountains
Country/Region: Sudan, Middle East and North Africa
A Christian mother of seven was killed in an aerial bombardment by Sudanese government forces as they continue a ruthless campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing in the Nuba Mountains.
The predominantly Christian town of Heiban was targeted on 27 September; five bombs were dropped near a crowded market place where people from surrounding villages come weekly to buy and sell goods.
Asia Omer Kuku, who was working in a field near a church building when the strike happened, was killed. The youngest of her seven children is just four months old.
Another Christian mother of seven, Howeda Hassan, sustained a critical injury but did not receive medical care. Other Christians were also wounded in the bombing, including the teenage son of a church leader.
Heiban has been hit in earlier air strikes; in February, Heiban Bible College was destroyed in a bombing raid.
President Omar al-Bashir's forces have been targeting the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state, which has one of the largest Christian populations in Sudan, since June 2011. The Islamic regime is trying to “cleanse” the region of non-Arabs and non-Muslims as Khartoum pushes forward its plans for a “100% Islamic” constitution.
The conflict has created a major humanitarian crisis in the Nuba Mountains, where the frequent aerial bombardments have prevented people from working the land for food. Aid agencies have been largely unable to reach the territory, and the people are facing starvation.
Consequently, thousands of severely malnourished Nuba families are fleeing, walking for days to reach the Yida refugee camp across the border in South Sudan.
The Nuba people have previously been targeted by Khartoum; more than 500,000 of their number were killed in the 1990s. Many Nuba people allied with the South during the long and bloody civil war in which the North fought to Islamise and Arabise the South. But when South Sudan became an independent nation on 9 July 2011, South Kordofan remained part of Sudan, leaving it even more vulnerable to Khartoum’s aggression.
Additional reporting: Morning Star News