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Friday, 24 April, 1998, 20:30 GMT 21:30 UK
Geldof appeals to save Sudan from famine
Sudan famine
It is "innocent people" who are suffering the most, said Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof has appealed for people to help to avert a new widescale famine in Sudan in Africa.

The appeal came as aid agencies issued fresh warnings that thousands of people were potentially at risk in southern Sudan.

Mr Geldof, who initiated the Live Aid concerts to raise money for the famines in Ethiopia 14 years ago, made the appeal on the BBC Six O'Clock News.

Bob Geldof
Geldof: "something must be done."
"The individual is simply not powerless in this world in the face of that sort of inhumanity," he said.

"You have got immense power, and it is to find the outrage, to say, `this is still happening, we can stop it'.

"The political will is necessary to stop it happening in perpetuity.

"It almost appears impenetrable, but it's not impenetrable, these things never are impenetrable."

Sudan
Thousands are already reliant on international aid
According to the BBC Diplomatic Correspondent, James Robbins, the famine could be stopped.

However, the Islamic Sudanese Government in Khartoum is deliberately limiting international food drops to the south to weaken Christian forces fighting for independence.

Both sides refuse to give ground and up to 350,000 people are at risk of starvation.

The Khartoum government told the BBC the international community should put pressure on the rebels to declare a ceasefire.

Sudan rebels
Civil war has been waged for 40 years
Mr Geldof said: "It would be relatively easy to create so much pressure on the government and indeed the rebels that allows some sort of compromise solution that would save, potentially, 350,000 people."

Sudan, which is the largest country in Africa, has been plagued by a succession of unstable civilian and military governments since it gained independence in 1956.

Its population has endured many years of civil war with splits along political, tribal and religious lines. Some 73% of the population are Sunni Muslims, mainly in the north, and 17% follow tribal religions.

The country itself covers nearly a million square miles, borders nine other nations and has a population of about 25 million, with 4.5 million living in the capital Khartoum.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bob Geldof Sudan appeal
Bob Geldof: "People are dying because of a political situation."(0'43")
Oxfam on Sudan
Jane Cocking of Oxfam: "The situation may deteriorate."(0'18")
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