Sudanese Covenanters Lose Lives in Violent Outbreak

Post a Comment » Written on February 24th, 2009     
Filed under: News
MALAKAL, SOUTH SUDAN (February 24, 2009) – Members of the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan (ECCSS) were among a number of people killed in fighting between militia and government forces that erupted in Malakal this morning, according to Jim Sundholm, director of Covenant World Relief.

The number of casualties is unknown.

MapPeter Hoth, a ministry leader in a local church, lost his family when a bomb fell on his home, reported James Tang, a Sudanese pastor in Fridley, Minnesota, who also serves as the Department of World Mission’s liaison to the ECCSS. The number of people who were in the house is unknown.

The leadership council of the South Sudan Covenant Church was holed up in the denomination’s central offices, which are located in the city, said Tang. He has been receiving reports from friends there.

“These are good people we know well,” said Sundholm. “These are good people caught in the crossfire.

“We have a number of sizeable Covenant World Relief projects in the area,” Sundholm added. “They include a school, shops, and a restaurant operated by the denomination’s women ministries.”

Multiple news reports state that there had been two separate outbreaks of gunfire and explosions. Tanks were on the streets.

According to the reports, the fighting was between the southern army and members of a southern militia headed by Gabriel Tang (no relation to James Tang). He had been backed by the Khartoum, Sudan, government during the country’s long civil war between the north and south.

City officials banned Gabriel Tang from the city after fighting between his milita and South Sudan forces left 150 dead in 2006. He returned the night before the latest fighting began. The United Nations tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to leave, and then the South Sudan soldiers tried to arrest Tang, according to news agencies. So far, the fighting has been contained to the city.

Some two million people were killed in Sudan’s north-south war and another four million have been displaced from their homes.

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