US/British Team Experiences Bombings
of Civilians in Southern Sudan
Team Included
U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) appeared at a 
joint press conference on March 31 with Mr. Scott Field, Associate 
Director of Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA USA). Mr. Field 
and two other members of a U.S. and British team sponsored by 
SOMA and the Church Mission Society (CMS) returned March 21 
from a three-week visit to the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) in 
war-torn Southern Sudan.

The bishops of seven ECS dioceses in the Western Equatoria 
region of Sudan invited the team to hold seminars for pastors and 
church leaders on the theme, "Discerning the Spirit in the Midst of 
Chaos," especially prepared for the needs of Southern Sudan. It 
was the first conference for the Episcopal church in this region in 
over 10 years.

On Saturday morning, February 27, during the opening of the first 
week-long seminar in Maridi, Sudan, the team witnessed the 
suffering and fear that Southern Sudanese face. A National Islamic 
Front (NIF) "Antonov" bomber attacked the hospital and market 
area, dropping six anti-personnel bombs. No direct hits occurred 
on this occasion, although several people were treated for shrapnel 
wounds at the hospital.  On Wednesday morning, March 3, the NIF 
bomber returned, dropping no fewer than 16 bombs. The majority 
of the team and church leaders were together in an old school 
building on the edge of town for the seminar.

The first two bombs landed on either side of the Episcopal 
cathedral, throwing shrapnel into the bishop's house and the tukels 
(mud huts with thatch roofs) of the cathedral staff.

The next two bombs landed near the compound of the Roman 
Catholic church. One woman team member and the driver were in 
the CMS vehicle on the way to get supplies when it became a 
target of opportunity. The pilot presumably spotted the white roof 
of the vehicle and the dust trail as the driver attempted to find 
cover under some trees.

Several bombs landed near the road as they crawled into the bush 
away from the vehicle. After nearly an hour of anxious prayer as 
the bomber circled overhead, the plane departed.

"We give God thanks for our protection and the privilege of 
sharing this experience with the Sudanese Christians," said the 
team leader, the Rev. Don Brewin of SOMA-UK.

However, the team later learned that a 5-year-old girl, Marion, was 
killed by a shrapnel wound to her head. Some team members 
visited and prayed with her grieving parents.

It was clear that there was no pretense of aiming at military targets. 

"As a former Navy A-6 Intruder bombardier, I have to say I did not 
particularly like being on the receiving end," Scott Field said. "But 
targeting civilians, hospitals and churches in broad daylight is 
inexcusable. The shrapnel that I dug out of the bomb craters 
indicates that the types of weapons and the fusing used in these 
attacks were meant to inflict maximum casualties on people."

Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, that 
justice and peace will come to Sudan.

Source: Anglican Voice Digest - 1 Apr 1999

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