Two killed, one hurt as Sudanese warplanes bomb Nuba Mountains

April 18, 2001 (AFP)

At least two people were killed and one wounded when Sudanese government aircraft twice bombed civilians gathered at an airstrip in the Nuba Mountains region of central Sudan, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) confirmed Wednesday.

SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje told AFP by telephone that two people, named as Yousuf Hassan and El-Amin Kuku, died when Antonov planes dropped 14 bombs at Kauda airstrip near a school run by the Roman Catholic Comboni missionary order on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Antonov planes again dropped eight bombs at Changaru, near the airstrip, wounding a student named Salah Hassan, Kwaje said.

He said the bombing had continued daily throughout February, March and April.

Earlier, a statement released here by Comboni missionary, Father Renato Kizito, said planes first struck when people gathered at Kauda to bid farewell to visiting representatives of Italian aid agencies and to carry goods brought by the visitors.

The Italians had flown to the Nuba Mountains area, under SPLA control, with educational materials, salt, soap, medicines and seed for the Koinonia Education Centre, which will educate 500 children and train 50 teachers each year.

Kizito's statement condemned what it described as the United Nations' "passive attitude" towards Khartoum's continued bombing of civilian targets in rebel-held areas of southern and central Sudan.

"For a long time, relief organisations, human rights groups and churches have been pushing to gain access to the Nuba Mountains to deliver food and other relief supplies.

"In spite of this campaign, the United Nations has not been able or willing to negotiate with the Khartoum government to set up an effective humanitarian access," the statement added.

Since 1983, Sudan, Africa's largest country, has been wracked by a civil war pitting the Arab Muslim north against the mainly Christian and animist south in a conflict increasingly fuelled by natural resources such as oil.

The war has left one million people dead and displaced millions of others, some fleeing into exile.