JUBA, South Sudan (BP) -- Alleged ethnic cleansing that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has undertaken against black Africans in the Nuba Mountains also is aimed at ridding the area of Christianity, according to humanitarian workers. By targeting Christians in the Nuba Mountains, which also is populated by adherents of Islam and other faiths, military force helps the predominantly Arab regime in Khartoum to portray the violence as "jihad" to Muslims abroad and thus raise support from Islamic nations, one humanitarian worker said on condition of anonymity. In South Kordofan state -- on Sudan's border with the newly created nation of South Sudan and home to sympathizers of the southern military that fought in Sudan's long civil war -- Bashir's military strikes are directed at Muslims as well as Christians, but churches and Christians are especially targeted, the worker said. "The ongoing war against Christians and African indigenous people is more of an ethnic cleansing in that they kill all black people, including Muslims," the worker said. "But they give specific connotation to the war in targeting Christians to secure funding and support from the Arab and Islamic world by saying this war is a religious war," he said. "And in so doing, they get huge support from those countries." The government in Khartoum is using Antonov airplanes to drop bombs, "coupled with state-sponsored militia targeting churches and Christian families," the worker said, noting that the militias are moving in brutal fashion "from house to house searching for Christian and African indigenous homes as the government continues with air strikes." The Satellite Sentinel Project (co-founded by actor George Clooney to provide satellite monitoring of abuses in Sudan) has gathered evidence that Antonov aircraft have indiscriminately bombed civilian populations in South Kordofan, although after a recent crash the government has said it will no longer use the planes. Aerial bombardment in the Nuba Mountains, for example, killed the five members of the Asaja Dalami Kuku family who belonged to the Episcopal Church of Sudan on Feb. 25, the humanitarian worker said.
NAIROBI, Kenya (BP) — Militants from an Islamic extremist organization in Somalia linked to al-Qaida beheaded a 17-year-old Christian near Mogadishu in September. Guled Jama Muktar was killed by al Shabbab militants in his home near Deynile, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Somali capital, a journalist there told the Compass Direct news service. […]