Sudan: May 27, 2002


: The SPLM/A said Antonov transports bombed the villages of Tam, Riboor, Chotot-ler and Norieh in the Western Upper Nile state on 24, 25 and 26 May, despite Khartoum's agreement to protect civilians. The SPLA claims that 17 civilians were killed and scores of others wounded. 

A 22 May government air raid on the Rier (Western Upper Nile, South Sudan) area has a casualty toll of at least 15 dead and nearly 120 injured, many of them children. The area struck by the government air raid is a traditional gathering place for thousands of displaced from the region. An Antonov-32 bomber dropped 16 bombs in a series of sorties between 02.00 (23:00 GMT) and 08.30 (05:30 GMT). After receiving reports from the East African nation, Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) spokesman Dan Eiffe told Reuters in Nairobi that "it is one of the most brutal and horrific attacks ever in southern Sudan".

Rier is located south of Bentiu, near the access road to the Block 5A oil concession, where oil companies have been forced to suspend operations. Fighting has been raging for months between government forces and the SPLA in oil-rich Unity State/western Upper Nile.

No immediate comment about the 22 May raid was made by President Omar Hassan al Beshir's governement, but by 25-26 May Khartoum denied the SPLA charges. 

On 26 May, the pro-government Southern Sudan Defence Force militia denied reports that government planes bombed Rier and accused the SPLA of shelling the town of Mayom, near Rier. - Adam Geibel


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