Sudan: June 24, 2002


As the peace talks begin, the battles continue. NGO and western press sources confirm an SPLA claim that a Sudanese government AN-12 (transport rigged as a bomber) struck the town of Malwalkon (Bahr el Ghazal Province) on June 23. Four people were killed and seven wounded in the airstrike. The casualty figures are "soft" --there may be more. The SPLA report said that the AN-12 dropped six bombs, several of them falling near a relief aid center. AFP reported that its SPLA source said some of the killed and injured were near a Doctors Without Borders facility. WFP and UNICEF also have operations in Malwalkon. Why hit a town with international facilities just as peace negotiations are gearing up? Never underestimate the presence of stupidity in war. There is also habit. The Sudanese Air Force has a long record for attacking towns with international aid facilities. A major faction in the Khartoum government (this includes the radical Islamist elements) believes that the international relief aid operations provide direct support and assistance to the SPLA. (Austin Bay)


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