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Charity reports new air attacks on Sudanese civilians

The international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reports that an air attack on the southern Sudanese town of Narus has claimed the lives of three people, including a child of six.

ACN received the news from Bishop Paride Taban, in whose diocese of Torit the attack occurred, apparently at the end of April. The three civilians had been in the market square of the town Narus when they were severely injured by the bombs. They were rushed to a hospital across the border in the Kenyan town of Lokichoggio, where they died a few hours later from their injuries. Bishop Taban himself escaped only by a hair's breadth from the attack, which destroyed his own house and the Saint Bakhita girl's boarding school.

For 18 years the radical Islamic government of Arab-dominated North Sudan has been waging a merciless war of annihilation against the predominantly Christian black African tribes, the Dinka and the Nuer, in the south of the country. During this time the war has cost two million lives and uprooted four and a half million people from their traditional homelands. But despite the persecutions to which christians are subjected in this country, their numbers continue to grow. Around 15 percent of the 30 million Sudanese are Christians today.

The head of ACN's Africa desk, Christine du Coudray, attributes this growth among other things to the courageous stance of the bishops themselves, who - despite the risk to their own lives - have tirelessly drawn attention to the prevailing evils in their country.

As an expression of solidarity with these, ACN staff members have visited Sudan and returned with first-hand reports. The charity is supporting the training of seminarians, the construction of churches, the provision of transport for pastoral work and, the extension and furnishing of a catechetical centre.