Sudan’s Genocidal Air Force Is Getting More Bombers
Belarus preps Su-24s for transfer to Khartoum
Workers at Belarus’ 558th Aircraft Repair Plant in Baranovichi have moved three decommissioned Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer swing-wing bombers from open storage to the plant’s work area, possibly queuing them up for overhaul—and export.
And it seems pretty clear where the powerful, Soviet-era bombers are going. In addition to helping to rebuild the Angolan air force, Belarus is also selling advanced weaponry to Sudan, despite the latter country’s long history of terrible human rights abuses.
Belarus once operated some three dozen Su-24s. But by February 2012, the country had removed all of the twin-engine planes from service. It reportedly sold a dozen to Sudan. The first three appeared on a runway at Wadi Sayyidna air base in the summer of 2013. Now it appears three more are on the way.
Sudan’s air force—250 or so mostly Russian-made planes and helicopters—has played a central role in Khartoum’s genocidal campaigns against Darfuri civilians and separatists in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state’s Nuba Mountains.
Drones scout out targets and bombers follow close behind. In May this year, one of the “new” Sudanese Su-24s bombed a hospital in the Nuba Mountains.
Situated just 25 kilometers northwest of Khartoum, the Wadi Sayyidna base is an ideal staging location for Su-24s, Su-25s (pictured at top) and other Sudanese warplanes.
Human rights activists, most notably the Satellite Sentinel Project, are closely watching the Su-24s’ deployment. As the SSP noted in an August 2013 brief, procurement of the Su-24 came with an end-user certificate prohibiting their use in Darfur, owing to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1591.
However, the resolution does not explicitly prohibit the jets’ operations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.