Khartoum Tightening Its Grip in Sudan
Bans Humanitarian Flights into Besieged Area
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ROME, OCT. 1, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Khartoum government's ban on humanitarian flights in southern Sudan threatens to bring widespread hunger to an area already suffering from military bombings, a Catholic bishop warns.
Bishop Cesare Mazzolari of Rumbek appealed over Vatican Radio for assistance to Christians and animists in the area who have been suffering from a 20-year war that has caused 2 million deaths.
Peace talks between the government and the Sudanese People's Liberation Army were interrupted last month when the rebels conquered Torit.
Because of "the bombings, everything is paralyzed in the southernmost area of Sudan," said Bishop Mazzolari. "We cannot go in to evacuate the people, and they cannot come out."
"The Church continues to be persecuted in the north of Sudan, and many times the objects of these bombings are churches and works carried out by the Church, such as hospitals, schools, clinics," he added.
"The principal cause of this war for all the contenders is oil, but there is also the attempt to Islamize and Arabize the people of southern Sudan by force," he added.
Bishop Mazzolari appealed to the international community to resume humanitarian flights and to halt the bombings, which he labeled acts of "terrorism."