Rights Group Says Cluster Bomb Found in Sudan Conflict Zone

Posted May 25th, 2012 at 1:40 am (UTC-5)
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Human Rights Watch is calling for Sudan to explain why the remains of a cluster bomb were found in a border area allegedly hit by recent government air strikes.

The New York-based rights group said Friday that the unexploded cluster bomb was found by residents last month in Sudan's Southern Kordofan state near the settlement of Ongolo.

Sudan has denied using cluster munitions, which pose a threat to civilians because they have a wide coverage area and sometimes leave behind unexploded bomblets.

Since June 2011, Sudan has been fighting forces aligned with South Sudan in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States. Rights groups have reported that civilians have been the victims of indiscriminate attacks in the region.

The group said it can not verify that the Sudanese air force used the weapon in an attack. But it noted that the opposition forces do not have combat aircraft that were likely necessary to fire the cluster bomb.

The rights watchdog wants Sudan to investigate the incident, as well as join an international treaty banning the weapon.

Sudan and South Sudan have been at odds over borders, oil, and citizenship questions since South Sudan split from the north and became independent last July.

On Thursday, both sides agreed to resume talks next week aimed at settling disputes that triggered cross-border clashes in the disputed oil town of Heglig last month.