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Press Release — October 10, 2002

Sudan Reopens Air Space But Escalates War on the South

(Washington, DC – Oct.10) International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Government of Sudan (GOS) lifted the flight ban into southern Sudan on Sunday Oct. 6. It is unclear at this point how many areas are still declared no-go zones.

The following information comes from a trusted ministry partner just returning from Nairobi, Kenya.

  1. A GOS Mig fighter jet went down just days ago. At this stage it cannot be confirmed whether it crashed or was shot down. It has not been confirmed positively whether it was a new Mig 29 or if it was one of the older Mig 19/21s that the Government uses.
  2. Large numbers of helicopter gun ships are being used in Eastern Equatoria. During one battle this past week on the Torit to Juba road, five helicopter gun ships were used. Moments later another three gun ships joined the attack. It is believed that these helicopters are carrying new and sophisticated military weapons. This is the first time that 8 gun ships have been used at the same time during an attack.
  3. Heavy fighting is currently taking place in the Blue Nile region, Eastern Equatoria, and the Upper Nile regions.
  4. Friday, October 4th, GOS forces attacked Southern Sudanese forces east of Koch near the oil road. Fighting is still taking place at the time of this writing.
  5. Antonov bombing and gunship attacks on civilian villages in Western Upper Nile have continued this week.
  6. For the following reasons, a serious food shortage is developing in large areas of Sudan: a) In many areas, crops have failed, b) Large scale displacement affecting tens of thousands results in the land not being farmed and no crops to reap, c) Sudan is now moving into the dry season. Many are without food reserves to carry them through the next 6 months.

Additionally, ICC has received the following report from Khartoum:

  • Hundreds of holy warriors and soldiers are being flown out of the capital each day heading for the South.
  • On a daily basis, GOS bomber planes, military trucks, equipment and troops are being deployed to the South.
  • There is a great deal of intimidation towards Southern Sudanese in Khartoum. In recent weeks there have been many arrests, disappearances and physical beatings.
  • X, a Dinka young man with the ECS Church, was beaten badly and died shortly after returning home.
  • Throughout Khartoum the GOS is promoting the war together with Islamic slogans and Jihad. This is being propagated on the radio, in the newspapers, TV and on the streets with microphones – peace only by submission to Islam! The GOS is calling for the killing of Jews and Christians and the defense of doctrine and nation.

Once again, it is the innocent women and children who are suffering the most, having to flee for their lives, losing loved ones, homes, crops and possessions – having to hide under a tree, living in fear without food, a blanket, or medication. Many of the children suffer from malaria, dysentery and are malnourished, if not starving. International Christian Concern condemns the forced dislocation and starvation of Southern Sudanese citizens and the escalation of the war by the Khartoum government.

International Christian Concern, a Washington, DC based human rights organization, advocates and aids Christians undergoing persecution worldwide. More information is available at www.www.persecution.org or by calling the ICC office at (301) 989-1708.