16 April 2015

Cluster Bomb Use in Sudan

Authorities must investigate, stop bombing civilians

Update 19 April 2015

According to the Anadolu news agency, a spokesperson from the Sudanese Army, Col. Alswarmy Khalid, called the evidence of cluster bomb use "fabricated" and denied using cluster bombs "in war areas in Sudan."

For the safety of the Sudanese people, the CMC calls upon the authorities to fully investigate and to publicly report in details on steps taken and on findings.

Sudan should also demonstrate its commitment towards International Humanitarian Law by joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


Geneva, 16 April 2015 -- The Cluster Munition Coalition is deeply worried about reports of cluster bomb use by the air force of Sudan in the Nuba mountains (South Kordofan) in February and March 2015.

"Cluster bombs are indiscriminate at the time of attack and they leave behind highly explosive duds. The weapon is banned under International Humanitarian Law and should not be used under any circumstances," said Megan Burke, Director of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).

On 15 April 2015, CMC member Human Rights Watch reported that government aircraft dropped two bombs in Tongoli village (Delami county) on 6 March, and four others on Rajeefi village (Um Durein county) in late February. The attacks destroyed homes and other civilian property.

The cluster bombs found during Human Rights Watch investigations appear to be Soviet-made RBK-500 cluster bombs, containing AO-2.5 RT fragmentation submunitions, the same kind found in the region in 2012.

The Cluster Munition Coalition calls on Sudan to:

  • Stop using cluster munitions immediately
  • Investigate use and report publicly
  • Ensure the clearance of cluster munition remnants in affected areas
  • Provide support to any victims of the weapon
  • Destroy stockpiles of cluster munitions
  • Join the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions

CM Sudan May 2012 599X350

Two AO-2.5RT submunitions found near the village of Ongolo in Southern Kordofan. These submunitions have successfully been dispersed from an RBK-500 AO-2.5RT cluster bomb but failed to detonate as designed. Photo taken on 13 May 2012. © 2012 Aris Roussinos

The fighting between Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army North (SPLA-N) in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states has been marked by numerous indiscriminate attacks since June 2011. The SPLA-N has no air force. Reports of use of cluster munitions by Sudan in 2012 increased international attention, including calls by the CMC and others for Sudan to investigate the allegations, but Sudanese officials offered denials in a number of venues.

While Sudan has publicly declared that it does not possess cluster munitions, it appears that in the past Sudan has imported cluster munitions from a number of countries. Evidence of use and contamination from cluster munition remnants indicate that Sudan probably still stockpiles the weapon.

See a letter from the CMC to Sudanese authorities.