U.S. accuses Sudan of bombing civilians

Two bombs landed inside the compound in South Kordofan, but there were no injuries, says the group that runs the school.

Story highlights

  • Rev. Franklin Graham's group, Samaritan's Purse, supports the school
  • At least 8 bombs were dropped in the area during school's first day of classes
  • Two bombs landed inside the compound, but no injuries were reported
  • "Aerial attacks on civilian targets are unjustified," White House says

The United States accused Sudan of targeting civilians in recent airstrikes, including one that destroyed a Bible school in South Kordofan, an oil-rich Sudanese province that borders the newly-created independent country of South Sudan.

"The United States strongly condemns the bombing by the Sudanese Armed Forces of civilian populations in Southern Kordofan," a White House statement said. "Aerial attacks on civilian targets are unjustified and unacceptable. Such attacks are a violation of international law and compound the ongoing crisis in these areas."

The Sudanese government could not be immediately reached for comment, but has said in the past that it is targeting rebels in the area.

At least eight bombs were dropped in the area near the Bible school Wednesday during the school's first day of classes, according to a statement by Samaritan's Purse, American evangelist Franklin Graham's Christian humanitarian group, which supports the school.

Two bombs landed inside the compound -- located in the region's Nuba Mountains -- destroying two Bible college buildings and igniting grass fires across the area, the group said in a statement

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No injuries were reported.

"It was a miracle that no one was injured," the statement added.

    More than 78,000 people have fled South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since August last year after an armed rebellion took root, the United Nations reported. The Sudanese government is thought to have responded to the rebellion by conducting sustained air raids with the use of Russian-made Antonov bombers, which have raised concerns over civilian casualties.

    Decades of civil war between the north and south, costing as many as 2 million lives, formally ended with a U.S.-brokered peace treaty in 2005.

    But before South Sudan gained independence in July of last year, human rights monitors expressed concerns that longstanding grievances could again lead to violence consuming the region.

    In November, there were several days of bombings near an entry point for refugees at the border, the United Nations reported. It did not specify who launched the bombs.

    The White House statement, release Thursday, urged for officials to find others ways to settle the conflict.

    "We believe that this conflict can only be resolved by dialogue, not through violence, and we encourage all parties to negotiate a peaceful settlement," statement said.

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