David Alton reports on a 'murderous peace' in Sudan

 The independent cross-bench peer, Lord Alton of Liverpool has produced a hard-hitting report following a humanitarian trip to Southern Sudan with the human rights charity Jubilee Action. The report reveals that even during the much publicised Machakos peace negotiations between the Islamic government of the north and the SPLA of the South, schools, villages and civilian installations were continuing to be bombed by the Sudanese government. Last week, Lord Alton of Liverpool and Mark Rowland of Jubilee Action visited Southern Sudan to see first hand the evidence of a war that has rumbled on for 19 years, leaving two million dead and four million internally displaced. Jubilee's delegation visited the diocese of Torit an area that has been inaccessible for much of the western press and witnessed the reality of bombed out clinics, shattered buildings and unexploded munitions. Lord Alton's report highlighted the experience of Auxiliary Bishop of Torit, Bishop Akio Johnson, who himself has had nine attempts on his life. He testified that some areas of the mainly Christian and animist South are facing daily bombardments in villages such as Hiyala and Tirangore which are exacting a terrible toll in lives. In three raids on Ikotos, on the 26th and 29th June and 12th July, 72 bombs were dropped on the town, razing much of it the ground. The report also highlighted the marked affect the war has had on the children of Southern Sudan. In a visit to a school in Narus, Lord Alton met traumatised children who had even learnt to differentiate the sound of the UN's relief planes from the much-feared Sudanese bombers. Lord Alton of Liverpool said: "The West would like to forget it, but we are intimately involved in the conflict in Sudan. This is a client war whose roots lie in the same conflict that led to the carnage of New York's twin towers. Far from being contained, the conflict is having a dangerous ripple effect throughout the region. The international community must continue to engage constructively in finding a path to peace. As the world ponders going to war with Iraq, we should remember the lessons from Sudan that wars are easier to start than to finish." To read the full report visit Lord Alton's website: www.davidalton.co.uk

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