Sudan Military Continues Aerial Bombing of Civilian Sites;
International Community Stays Mute

March 16, 2001

Sudanese government military aircraft continue to bomb civilian and humanitarian targets throughout southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains.

On March 8 and 9 Sudanese government planes bombed Kauda, in the Nuba Mountains. This is the same locale where a school was bombed last year, killing 14 children and injuring 18 others. Two days ago, on March 14, the Sudanese government bombed Mankien with as yet unknown casualties.

The total number of bombings confirmed this year by the U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) stands at 20. This is almost certainly an understatement of the frequency of actual bombing by the Sudanese government as it often takes weeks to confirm bombings in remote locations, particularly where the United Nations Operation Lifeline Sudan is not present. For example, an additional 10 bombings in Blue Nile Province have been reported since February 1, but have not yet been adequately confirmed by USCR and sources in the field.

The presence of UN or other humanitarian agency relief personnel is no deterrent to Sudanese government bombing. On February 22, for example, Padit in Upper Nile Province was bombed while the World Food Program (WFP) was preparing an aerial food drop there. Such food drops attract civilians, who are the targets of Khartoum's bombing campaign. In this instance, three bombs reportedly struck the food-drop zone and a fourth fell within 50 meters of a WFP compound.

"Only one side in Sudan's conflict has planes: the Khartoum government," said Roger P. Winter, executive director of USCR. "Khartoum's bombing is meant to kill, maim, displace, and terrorize civilians caught up in the midst of the world's worst humanitarian nightmare." Winter added,"We applaud the editorial board of the Washington Post for today calling on the Bush Administration to make 'a serious, high-profile attempt to pressure Sudan's oil partners' to bring the Sudanese government to the peace table."

"The UN says little and does nothing about this. Most Western governments, including Canada, turn a blind eye. America and the Bush Administration appear to be their last, best hope."


For Further Information: Alison Seiler 202-347-3507