Terror bombings of civilian centres in Southern Sudan have intensified. Numerous churches have been bombed – including on Christmas Day.
Worst hit in this bombing campaign was Moruland. Lui, Kotobi, Mundri, Jambo, Tali and Lanyi have all been repeatedly subjected to aerial bombardments by the Sudan Air Force. Churches, schools, the only hospital in Moruland and the few medical clinics appear to be the primary targets.
Churches Bombed on Sunday Morning
On one day, Sunday 7th January, 5 separate communities in Moruland were bombed. 46 bombs were dropped on Kotobi, Mundri, Jambo, Singo and Kediba during Sunday morning worship services.
Churches Bombed on Christmas Day
On Christmas Day, during the Christmas morning services, the congregations in Jambo and Tapari were subjected to aerial bombardments by the Sudan Air Force. Back in November, a Frontline Fellowship and Evangelism Explosion mission team were bombed on Sunday morning at the same church in Jambo that was also bombed on Christmas Day. (In the last year, I have been bombed twice whilst preaching in a church. Both these churches were also bombed on Christmas Day.)
On 29 December, the Fraser Cathedral in Lui was hit and severely damaged by bombs dropped by the Sudan Air Force. Lui had been attacked on 26 December with 7 bombs. Then on 29 December another 10 bombs were dropped on Lui. Five of those bombs landed close to the Episcopal Church of Sudan cathedral. A huge hole was blown into the West wall of the church building, flinging parts of the corrugated iron roof up into the sky.
Most of the West wall is pockmarked with holes from hundreds of pieces of schrapnel. All the windows on all sides of the church were blown out. Most of the doors were splintered. Almost every wooden beam in the roof of the church has cracked. Much of the structure is now unstable and would need to be torn down before rebuilding of the cathedral could begin. This was the third time that this church in Lui has needed to be rebuilt because of assaults by the Government of Sudan forces.
The Church that Will Not Die
This church building in Lui stands on the site of the very first church established in Moruland. It was initially built by pioneer Scottish missionary Dr. Kenneth Fraser in 1921. The church in Lui was burned down by government forces in 1965. It was later rebuilt by 1983, but when the National Islamic Front government forces swept into Lui, the congregation had to again flee into the bush and the church building was vandalised.
In 1997 the church was restored and since that time Frontline Fellowship has shown Christian films many times in the cathedral and conducted numerous services there. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life and He continues to bring life – abundant life – out of death (John 11:25).
Bishop Bullen Dolli condemned this "senseless violence and reign of terror against civilian populations" and declared that those committing such atrocities "must be treated with the contempt they deserve and the perpetrators condemned in the strongest possible terms." Bishop Bullen emphasised that Lui "has always been and still is, a civilian population centre best known for its religious and educational life." He expressed outrage at the "callous disregard" for life and "senseless terrorism" of the government of Sudan.
Pastor Jeffrey of the Diocese of Lui appealed to the new President of the United States, George W Bush, to intervene by declaring Southern Sudan a no-fly zone for military aircraft. Using the air exclusion zones in Iraq (designed to protect the Kurds and Shite Muslims), as an example, Pastor Jeffrey requested urgent action to protect the Black Christians of Sudan from the terror bombing campaign of the National Islamic Front government of Sudan.
We gathered details from eyewitnesses of 55 bombings. In just over 2 months, over 458 bombs had been dropped on churches, schools, medical clinics and homes – mostly in Equatoria. As best as we could confirm, casualties have included at least 41 dead and over 100 injured.
The community which includes the Frontline Fellowship mission station and Christian Liberty High School has now been bombed 9 times in the last year, by MiGs and Antonovs of the Sudan Air Force. Over 100 bombs had been dropped on our community during the previous 12 months!
Bibles Delivered, Leaders Trained
In the last 6 months I have conducted 4 separate mission trips to Sudan. I was also sick for over 2 months as a result of the injuries to my ribs and lungs received during one of the bombings. On the most recent trip, the airline lost my backpack so I travelled around Sudan for over 2 weeks without my luggage or a change of clothes. By the time I returned home, my trousers could just about stand on their own!
I also had the challenge of battling beauracracy and undertaking archaeological excavations at the Nairobi Post Office to unearth missing boxes of school books posted from Christian Liberty Academy in the USA to Christian Liberty High School. By God’s grace, the postal supervisor went out of his way to enable me to recover several of the precious parcels from amongst mountains of mail in the huge postal warehouses.
Despite the disruptions, sicknesses and lost luggage, we were able to distribute over 12 000 Bibles and I presented over 240 sermons, lectures or Bible studies and 10 seminars for Sudanese pastors, teachers and chaplains – often across rivers and through burning fields. It was a privilege to conduct services in many of the communities that had recently been bombed – including in the shattered remains of the Fraser Cathedral in Lui.
Please continue to pray for the Frontline mission team who remain in Sudan restoring and running the Christian Liberty High School, clinic and chapel.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Psalm 34:19
Dr. Peter Hammond