"This morning, I received details of the bombing of a school in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan and the killing of 14 and their teacher," Roman Catholic Bishop Macram Max Gassis said on February 15. "It is truly a slaughter of the innocents."

The bishop's impassioned testimony set the stage for the newly formed U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's first public hearing in Washington, D.C.

Gassis, who is Sudanese, described what he called a religious war of genocide against Christians and other opponents of Sudan's fundamentalist Islamic government.

"We have walked for miles amongst human and cattle corpses with systematic burning of homes, churches, mosques, animist shrines, clinics, schools, and crops," testified Baroness Caroline Cox of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Cox described how the Khartoum government has driven moderate Muslims into the desert to die, and enslaved Christians as a method of forced conversion.

She also testified about Sudanese concentration camps—called "peace camps"—with high rates of executions, death by starvation, and rapes.

Sudan is "the hell of the world," says Dan Eiffe of Norwegian People's Aid. Eiffe escorted representatives of the commission through southern Sudan in January.

Denouncing the Clinton Administration's inaction, Roger Winter of the U.S. Committee for Refugees estimated more than 1.9 million southern Sudanese and Nuba Mountain peoples have perished since 1983. Another 4 million or more have been driven into absolute poverty. Another 50,000 Sudanese have been enslaved. The U.S. Commission was established last spring to monitor progress and make recommendations on eliminating religious persecution.

Fueling the War

The hearing devoted much attention to Sudan's Nuba Mountain ...

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