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UN emergency relief coordinator urges Sudan to stop bombing civilian targets

UN emergency relief coordinator urges Sudan to stop bombing civilian targets

Condemning recent attacks against civilians in southern Sudan, the United Nations' top relief coordination official today urged the Khartoum Government to refrain from any further such military action.

Kenzo Oshima, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in a statement that he was "deeply concerned" about three separate bombing raids by Sudanese Government forces on the village of Mangayath in Bahr-el-Ghazal, where the UN was distributing food to internally displaced persons.

"They occurred despite the distribution having been cleared by the Government well in advance and, in the case of the most recent attack on 8 October, despite the official protest filed by the UN with the Government on 6 October," Mr. Oshima said.

"I deplore in the strongest terms these military attacks on civilians who were gathering in one location to receive humanitarian assistance from the United Nations," he said. "It is indefensible for any government or rebel movement to carry out military acts whose victims will most probably be civilians and relief workers."

As a consequence of the repeated bombings, the UN has been forced to evacuate its humanitarian staff without completing the planned delivery of assistance, leaving tens of thousands of people in Bahr-el-Ghazal with no access to relief aid.

"I trust that the Government will reaffirm and sustain its declared commitment to support the safe and unhindered provision of humanitarian assistance to all populations in need throughout the country," the Relief Coordinator said.