Santino Manut, a one-legged former southern Sudanese soldier, sits on a stool in a small room where artificial legs are manufactured. A health assistant washes what remains of his leg, amputated at the knee. Soon the 24-year-old Manut will be fitted with an artificial limb.
Manut is one of hundreds of war victims admitted to the International Red Cross hospital in Lokichoggio, the logistical center for humanitarian agencies working in southern Sudan.
Manut, a Christian, had to have his leg amputated after a gunshot wound became infected. Nevertheless, he is determined to see southern Sudan liberated. Although his church teaches peace and reconciliation, Manut believes he must fight to reclaim what has been stripped from his people. "I am not giving up until we get our rights." Manut realizes he cannot return to the battlefront, but he still longs to fight, which he has done for a decade—since age 14. "I wish God can perform a miracle and give me back my leg; I would go back to fight again."
According to head nurse Toril Perelius, there are 570 patients at Lokichoggio, nearly all Sudanese war victims. Many, such as Manut, have lost legs. Up to 80 new patients arrive from the interior each week, says Perelius during a tour of the eight wards. Some patients in the intensive care unit are still unconscious, having just emerged from surgery, fresh blood seeping through the dressings.
MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN CONFLICT: Sudan, the largest country in Africa, is divided between the predominantly Muslim north, including the capital, Khartoum, and the primarily Christian south. Civil war between the two regions has destabilized the country for the past 15 years (CT, April 4, 1994, p. 80) and led to the slavery of Christians (CT, April 29, ...1