, KHARTOUM, Oct 8 – Five people were killed and more than 20 wounded on Monday when rebels shelled the capital of Sudan’s war-torn South Kordofan state, official radio said.
“Five people are martyred and 23 wounded because of the SPLM-North shelling of Kadugli,” Radio Omdurman reported in an SMS news alert, which gave no source for the information.
Sawarmi Khaled Saad, the Sudanese army spokesman, could not confirm the figure and gave a lower toll, telling AFP that one woman was killed and three other civilians were wounded by the rebel firing around Kadugli.
“This morning a group from SPLM-North tried to get inside Kadugli town and they shelled an area six kilometres (four miles) east of Kadugli. As a result of this a woman was killed and three citizens injured,” he said.
Other sources said the town itself had been hit.
Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, spokesman for SPLM-N group that aims to overthrow the Khartoum government, confirmed that it had shelled Kadugli.
“Yes, this is our people who have attacked,” he told AFP.
“To our knowledge there were five mortar shells that landed in and around the town” of Kadugli, Damian Rance of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told AFP.
Residents also reported shelling in the government-controlled capital of the state where the army has been battling rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) since June last year.
Rance said all UN staff in Kadugli, both Sudanese and foreign, were moved “as a precautionary measure” to a base between Kadugli and the local airport.
The base is used by a UN peacekeeping mission, UNISFA, which operates in the Abyei region contested by Sudan and South Sudan.
Rance could not say how many UN personnel were involved, but the UN’s World Food Programme said that 15 Sudanese staff from its office, eight of their family members, and one international employee were taken to the UNISFA base.
“They are all safe,” a WFP official said.
The incident – rare for the state capital – comes after Sudan and South Sudan late last month signed deals on security and cooperation that they hailed as ending their countries’ conflict.
The neighbours fought in their border regions in March and April, sparking fears of wider war and leading to a UN Security Council resolution ordering a ceasefire and the settlement of unresolved issues, under African Union mediation.