LATEST: Pop punks SUM 41 have been forced to cut short their trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo after their lives were threatened by escalating violence.

The Canadian quartet, who were filming a documentary for the War Child CANADA organisation, were evacuated to a UNITED NATIONS (UN) compound in Uganda after peace accord was broken.

Singer Deryck Whibley admits he was relieved to leave, "When we heard the gunshots, we knew what was going on. We were lying in our room hoping to get out the next day."

During the Ontario band's 10-day trip, frontman Whibley, drummer STEVE JOCZ, guitarist DAVE BAKSH and bassist CONE McCASLIN met former child soldiers, rape victims who had been assaulted by soldiers, rebel fighters, UN and aid agency officials and other Congolse victims of war.

Jocz says, "We went to Congo to show people what war is like, how harmful it is to civilians, and we ended up becoming war-affected ourselves."

Whibley adds, "Our being there, hearing the bullets around us, the mortar fire, the injured being brought in for medical treatment, it reinforced our belief that more must be done to prevent war and protect innocent civilians."

Baksh remarks, "While we would never wish this experience on our worst enemies, we came through this crisis stronger and convinced way more than ever that war is a stupid aspect of life and that we have to work harder to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians, support aid to war-affected people, confront the arms traders, and help build on the work of the United Nations."

03/06/2004 21:02