Written by Nicole Audette
The Heiban Bible College, located in the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan, was bombed on March 23, 2014, for the second time in a little over a year. The Nuba Mountains, alongside the Blue Nile region, have been the staging ground for the conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebel group and the government of Sudan for more than three years. Although no injuries or damage were reported by the Heiban Bible College, this recent attack exemplifies what the Enough Project has deemed a punishing campaign of starvation warfare and aerial bombardment by the government of Sudan in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, or the “Two Areas.”
International aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, which has been active in Sudan since 1993 and supporting the Bible College since it was founded in 2007, stated that their ministry partners reported two airplanes from Sudan’s Air Force dropped nine bombs in the area surrounding the college.
“Praise God, no one was hurt,” a staff member at the college said, after two of the bombs landed directly inside the compound.
An additional five bombs were dropped in town, near the market and the clinic. The town reported one injury but no deaths.
This attack is not the first on the Heiban Bible College. During a similar bombing in February 2013, multiple buildings were destroyed. The intentional targeting of religious and civilian institutions appears to be a tactic of the Sudanese government, as mentioned in the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) report entitled Architects of Atrocities. SSP satellite imagery, discovered by DigitalGlobe, shows a recent increase in the continuous aerial bombardments across the “Two Areas,” particularly in the Nuba Mountains.
Many of the people in the region have become reliant on support from international aid organizations like Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan’s Purse is currently providing emergency relief to refugees who have crossed the border into South Sudan to flee the fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. Since August 2013, tens of thousands of these displaced people have received food, clean water, medical care, temporary shelter, and trauma counseling through Samaritan’s Purse projects.
Attacks like those against the Heiban Bible College support recent statements by John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, that the biggest threats to the people of Sudan is the raging civil wars and the increasing mass atrocities being committed within its own borders. Prendergast calls on the international community to cease the stove-piping of conflict resolution initiatives in Darfur, eastern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile. Instead, he calls for, “one unified negotiation process for all of Sudan's conflicts, which includes both armed and unarmed opposition groups and civil society organizations to discuss democratic governance and transition issues.”