Sudan Bombs Two Church Compounds

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Sudanese government planes bombed two church compounds in rebel-held southern Sudan, injuring at least four people, a Roman Catholic group said Thursday.

The Sudan Catholic Bishops Regional Conference said four bombs struck the residence of Bishop Johnson Akio Mutek in Ikotos on Tuesday night.

The bombing injured "many people including four Kenyans" and destroyed the bishop's residence and a youth center, said a statement by the conference released in neighboring Nairobi.

Another 12 bombs were dropped near church schools in Isoke, the group said. A church spokesman said no one was injured and the bombs did no damage.

No rebel units were near either target, church officials said.

Sudanese government officials were not available for comment.

Ikotos and Isoke are in the south in Equatoria province, along the Kenyan border, where the rebel Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army recently captured an important government garrison town. The rebels are fighting for autonomy from the Islamic government in the capital, Khartoum.

In Khartoum, 57 nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference ended a three-day meeting on Thursday by pledging support for Palestinians and their leadership.

The 19-year civil war in Sudan is often portrayed as a battle between the Muslim north and the followers of traditional religions and Christianity in the south, but oil fields in the south have also come to the center of the conflict.

Peace talks mediated by regional leaders are under way in Kenya and are scheduled to last until the end of July. Despite the talks, attacks continue, with government planes bombing several humanitarian targets in southern Sudan in recent weeks.