Sudan refugees flee government bombing

PAGERI (Reuter) - Tens of thousands of frightened refugees are fleeing bombing raids by government forces on remote rebel-held towns and villages in southern Sudan and heading towards the Kenyan and Ugandan borders. The raids - officially denied by Khartoum - began last Friday in the area around the rebel base of Nimule, just north of the Ugandan border, sowing panic among local populations. Details are sketchy, but more than 20 people have been killed and several wounded, aid workers and rebels said. Aid workers say almost 70,000 people, fearing the raids signal the start of a long-threatened ground offensive, are fleeing the 'Triple A' camps of Ame, Atepi and Aswa.

On Tuesday, journalists witnessed a raid on the village of Pageri, a few miles from Aswa camp. An Antonov plane, believed to come from the government-held southern capital of Juba, circled above the camp. Groups of villagers fled into the bush and watched in terror as the Antonov dropped at least five bombs.