Catholic News Service photo
Retired Bishop Macram Max Gassis
Catholic News Service photo
Retired Bishop Macram Max Gassis
NAIROBI, Kenya — A bishop who served in Sudan until his retirement a year ago appealed to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to end a months-long bombing campaign that has killed and injured dozens of innocent civilians in the Nuba Mountains.

Bishop Macram Max Gassis, formerly of the Diocese of El Obeid, Sudan, made the appeal during an Oct. 25 press conference, nine days after seven people, including six children, were killed and dozens more injured in a raid on a crowded market and a home in Heiban in South Kordofan state.

"The bombing marked a notable increase in the indiscriminate bombing of civilians," Bishop Gassis said in the Kenyan capital.

"The gun will solve no problem and violence generates violence," he said in condemning the Sudanese government's attacks in the region. More than 800 bombs have been dropped in the Nuba Mountains this year, according to reports from the region.

The bishop was particularly critical of the Heiban bombing, which occurred on a Thursday, the market day in which farmers, shopkeepers and residents converge on the town's central square.

He said people reported that three bombs were dropped on the market and another on the home about 200 feet away.

"Villagers ran in different directions, seeking shelter as the bombs destroyed the shops and produce for sale," he said.

None of the people at the market carried weapons, he added.

"Any upright and morally living person cannot accept such injustice which in the final analysis is a crime similar to the killing of Abel by his brother Cain," the bishop said.

Bishop Gassis also appealed to Bashir and the government to negotiate a just and peaceful solution to any grievances in order to assure the dignity of the Nuba Mountain people.

"Such discussion should be honest, free of mental restriction, bearing in mind the rights of the population," he said.