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LAT: Sudan's state-sponsored pyromania

Author: John Prendergast
October 19, 2009

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John Prendergast explains why increased U.S. leadership is needed for an independence referendum in southern Sudan to succeed.

The Khmer Rouge's Pol Pot had hundreds of thousands of people dig their own mass graves before they were beaten to death in Cambodia's killing fields. Rwanda's Interahamwe militias used machetes to kill 800,000 people in 100 days. Now, another low-tech, clandestine approach to orchestrating mass atrocities is being perfected by the ruling National Congress Party, or NCP, in Sudan. No need for shovels or machetes when you have a box of matches.

Over the last two decades, I've gone to smoldering village after smoldering village in Sudan and the surrounding region, interviewing the survivors of attacks by militias supported by the NCP. Each time the pattern is the same.

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