Five die in second Bentiu air raid

15 Apr 2012

Five die in second Bentiu air raid

14 April 2012 - In a continuing conflict along the border area between Sudan and South Sudan, bombs fellon the Unity State capital of Bentiu today, killing five people and wounding five others.

Two jet fighter planes, allegedly belonging to the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), dropped the explosives at a bridge connecting Bentiu and Rubkona towns.

UNMISS Senior Military Liasion Officer (MLO) Lt. Col. Kanadbek Urmanbetov said he and his fellow MLOs heard an unusual sound at about one p.m. and came out of their office.

"We saw two jet Mig 29s flying over Rubkona towards Bentiu and then heard a few seconds ... of blast and black smoke went up," Lt. Col Urmanbetov said. "The same jets flew back and went north and after two minutes we heard blasts again and smoke went up."

Two teams of MLOs sent to the blast areas found that the bombs had narrowly missed the bridge but had taken human casualties, the MLO said. "Four civilians and one soldier were killed near the bridge."

The five injured people, who received shrapnel wounds from the blasts, were taken to Bentiu Hospital.

Bentiu Hospital Medical Director Dr. Peter Gatkuoth said the explosions had wounded innocent civilians waiting at a bus stop near the bridge. "We received five dead people and five wounded. Some injuries are slight."

Wearing clothes stained with blood from a head wound, Peter Yien Chuol, who tends a garden near the bridge, said the bombs had exploded near him but that his children had fortunately survived. "My children went into the river to hide and are happy to be alive."

Tea-maker Nyamel Nyakuma, who also works close to the bridge, said she was chatting with five customers when the blasts occurred, and was the only one to survive. "I am the only one alive and others have died," said the pregnant mother of four.

An eye-witness who wished to remain anonymous suggested that the air strike was targeting the only bridge connecting Bentiu with the three counties of Pariang, Mayom and Abiemnhom in northern Unity State, aiming to cripple the supply line to those areas.

Today's bombing was the second to hit the Bentiu area in the past three days. An Antonov allegedly belonging to the SAF bombed the city on 12 April, killing one person.