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Press Release — February 21, 2002

GOVERNMENT OF SUDAN BOMBS MORE CIVILIANS

The following appeal was released today by Dr. Samson L. Kwaje, Commissioner for Information and Official Spokesman for the SPLM/SPLA.

The Government of Sudan (GOS), true to its character of habitual lying has deliberately carried out another aerial bombardment of a relief centre of Bieh in Western Upper Nile. The Bieh relief centre is situated 13 miles north of Leer town. Bieh is the relief centre where SCM/MSF and WFP operate from.

Yesterday, February 20, at about 16.20hours, four GOS helicopter gunships targeted a huge civil population during food distribution by the WFP. Initial reports from RASS/SRRA and International NGOs as well as UN workers have confirmed that 17 people mostly women and children were killed on the spot and very many others wounded. However, it is reported that more people may die due to severe injuries.

It will be recalled that a few days ago the GOS bombed the relief centres of Akuem, Koch and Nimni killing several people including children. Due to pressure from the international community, Khartoum issued varied statements on these bombings. These statements ranged from initial outright denial, claims of technical error and finally, an acceptance with apology. In their apology the NIF war mongers lied that they will not again bomb civilian targets. Yesterday’s helicopter assaults prove that the regime’s leadership cannot be trusted. They are determined to derail the peace efforts of the Government of the USA led by Senator John Danforth. An apology from the Government may be accepted, but it is not a remedy; what is demanded of Khartoum is total observance of the articles of the cease-fire.

Finally, we again appeal to the international community to stand by its obligations and charge the Khartoum regime with crimes against humanity and genocide. It should be noted that the regime’s domestic terrorism (Jihad) and international terrorism (of which it is part and parcel) are one and the same thing.