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Wednesday, 7 November, 2001, 20:14 GMT
Sudan rebel calls for US attack
South Sudan rebel leader Riek Macher
Macher wants help with his war against the government
A southern Sudanese rebel leader has called on the United States Government to extend its war on terrorism against the authorities in the capital Khartoum.

Riek Macher of the Sudan People's Democratic Front - a one-time ally of the government - said that action needed to be taken because the al-Qaeda network of Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect in the US suicide attacks, is present in the country.


We have been fighting against terror single-handedly for years

Riek Macher,
leader of SDPF

In 1998 the US Government bombed a factory on the outskirts of Khartoum, claiming it was producing chemical weapons.

But Sudan denied that claim, saying it was a pharmaceutical plant.

Sudan is one of the seven countries on Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Fears

Bin Laden lived in Sudan in the early 1990s but the government expelled him in 1996, adding he had been there as an investor.

Mr Macher told the BBC's Focus on Africa that he fears that if Bin Laden is dislodged from Afghanistan during the current American-led air strikes he could return to Sudan.

He also said that the long-running civil war in Sudan should not be seen as an internal struggle, and called on Washington to help his fight against the government.

Mr Macher said: "We have been fighting against terror single-handedly all these years. With the despicable 11 September attack on America by terrorists harboured by Sudan, they should be help us."

Threat to America

Early this month US President George W Bush extended sanctions against Sudan by one year because of what he called Khartoum's reputation for international terrorism and human rights abuses.

Although Khartoum has said it is cooperating fully with the US in the fight against terrorism, Mr Bush said Sudan's actions and policies posed a significant threat to America's national security.

The sanctions were first imposed by former President Bill Clinton in 1997.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Riek Macher, a rebel Sudanese leader
"We should be embodied in the fight against terrorists"
See also:

28 Sep 01 | Africa
UN lifts sanctions on Sudan
23 Sep 01 | Africa
Bin Laden's Sudan links remain
02 Jun 01 | Africa
Sudan summit fails to agree truce
27 May 01 | Africa
Powell promises Sudan aid
24 May 01 | Africa
Sudan to halt air strikes
24 May 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Sudan
24 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Sudan
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