|Africa||US IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON SUDAN FOR LACK OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM|
The Treasury Department yesterday announced a series of economic sanctions against Sudan's state-owned oil companies after a government commission on religious freedom recommended strong action against the African country.
The department said US citizens or companies can no longer engage in trade or conduct financial transactions with Sudan's Sudapet Ltd. or with Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company Ltd. under a 1997 order that imposes sanctions on Sudan as a sponsor of terrorism. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom wants the sanctions also to apply to efforts by any company to raise money on US stock markets that would benefit Sudan, but the Treasury Department has not acted on those recommendations.
At Tuesday's hearing, exiled Sudanese Bishop Macram Max Gassis alleged that a Sudanese military plane intentionally bombed a school in his diocese last Tuesday and killed 14 children. Bishop Gassis accused the government of trying to kill off the country's Catholic minority. "If you destroy the fruit, you will have no more trees tomorrow," he said.
Rebels in the mainly Christian and animist south of Sudan have waged a decades-long civil war against the mainly Arab Islamic government based in Khartoum. Sudan is under US sanctions both for allegedly exporting terrorism and abuse of its Christian minority.