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Kauda is a town in central Sudan’s Nuba Mountains roughly 50 miles northeast of the state capital, Kadugli. Along with the rest of the Nuba Mountains/Southern Kordofan region, Kauda is under attack by the National Congress Party (NCP) Islamist government of Sudan that seeks to eradicate the black, African Nuba ethnic groups. Every day Kauda’s rich hills and fertile valleys suffer new scars as bombs drop from the sky, terrorizing and killing men, women, and children.
Khartoum’s extermination campaign began June 5, 2011, after its candidate for Nuba Mountains governor, ICC-indicted war criminal Ahmed Haroun, stole the election from the popular Commander Abdelaziz Adam Alhilu. Haroun is the architect of the genocide in Darfur. Alhilu is a hero of Sudan’s civil war and current head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-North), the force defending the Nuba from Khartoum’s troops. When the people protested the rigging of the election, Sudan President Omar al Bashir warned that if the Nuba did not accept Haroun, his soldiers would “chase them up into the mountains” where they would starve. He also told Sudan’s armed forces and Islamic militias to “just sweep away the rubbish” in the Nuba Mountains.
On June 14 the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) bombed the airstrip at Kauda, and since then they have carried out dozens more air strikes there and in surrounding villages and towns. Kauda County Police Chief, Mohammed Ibrahim, told Sudan Radio Service on July 1 that an SAF airplane had bombed the Kauda Hospital the day before, killing civilians. A pregnant woman who had just gone into labor was decapitated in the bombing.
Then on August 22, just before declaring a ceasefire that was immediately and pathetically lauded by the U.S. State Department, Khartoum targeted again civilians in Kauda. According to sources on the ground, a single Antonov plane dropped four bombs “in and around” Al Masha Secondary School. Thankfully, no one was killed. Only two people were seriously injured. But the last time Khartoum bombed a Kauda school, the tragedy was overwhelming.
Kauda still bears the scars of a wound it received at nine a.m. February 8, 2000. As children at Holy Cross Primary School settled into their studies in “classrooms” under two large shade trees, the Sudanese government turned its war on the little Catholic bush school and bombed the school. Twenty students and one teacher died. Dozens were severely injured, many requiring amputation. The Sudanese air force dropped five “barrel” bombs, studded with nails, on what the low-flying aircraft obviously knew was a civilian target.
In his beautiful but painful book, War and Faith in Sudan, journalist Gabriel Meyer recounts the events of the horrific morning:
The first two bombs failed to hit their target, landing in a hollow a quarter mile from the school and at its perimeter. The third bomb, however, landed in the schoolyard between the two trees, leaving a blackened crater in its wake. Shrapnel moving at speeds of up to two hundred miles an hour sliced through the air.
The students who flattened themselves on the ground, as they had been trained to do, had a chance. Those who tried to run away from the blasts did not.
Seeing where the third bomb had struck, and with terrorized children breaking into a run all around her, teacher Roda Ismail tried to force them to lie down, and shifted her students to the back side of the southern tree to shield them from the shrapnel whining across the yard.
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