For the second straight day and the fourth time this month, the Samaritan's Purse hospital in southern Sudan has been bombed by a government warplane. Six Sudanese civilians were wounded, two of them critically, in the latest bombing at about 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. Eastern time) on Thursday.None of the Samaritan's Purse staff, including two American doctors who were finishing surgery when the first bomb fell, were injured.Samaritan's Purse president Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, expressed outrage at the ongoing attacks. "The Government of Sudan just continues to demonstrate that they are a terrorist nation," he said. "For more than 25 years, Samaritan's Purse has helped people all over the world recover from wars of hatred, but this is the first time we've ever been so blatantly and continuously attacked by the government of the very people we are trying to help."A government bomber made at least seven passes over the hospital compound on Thursday morning and dropped 10 bombs. None hit the hospital directly, but one exploded within 50 yards of the facility, destroying several houses in the surrounding village.Twenty hours earlier, on Wednesday afternoon, a government plane dropped two large bombs near overhanging rocks that the staff and villagers use as bomb shelters. A young girl and a man suffered shrapnel wounds in that attack.The hospital and village were previously hit by 15 bombs March 7 and by 11 explosives on March 1. A pregnant mother was killed and several civilians were seriously injured in the first attack, which damaged the hospital's tuberculosis ward. No one was injured in the second attack.After the second bombing, the patients and medical staff were temporarily evacuated from the hospital. Then after 12 days of no further attacks, they resumed hospital operations on Monday.Two people died and several others were injured March 14 after bombs were dropped in the vicinity of another area hospital, run by Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).VOM, an international Christian group headquartered in Canada, has been at work in southern Sudan for over three years and helped to underwrite expenses for the 100-bed hospital in 1999. Far Reaching Ministries, which has partnered with VOM in that area, reports that 11 to 13 bombs landed in the vicinity. A VOM team in southern Sudan witnessed another 24 bombs dropped on a nearby village.Samaritan's Purse's Southern Sudan Mission Hospital is an 80-bed facility that has treated more than 100,000 patients since it opened in 1997. It is one of the largest hospitals in southern Sudan, which has been wracked by civil war since 1983. Ken Isaacs, the international director of projects for Samaritan's Purse, is at the hospital. "God was very gracious and faithful," he said. "He continues to protect us. We need to raise awareness among God's people for prayer. This is an evil and wicked thing going on. Believers need to speak out and beseech our government to bring pressure on the Government of Sudan to halt this."The first two bombings were condemned by U.S. Senator Bill Frist (who once worked as a surgeon at the hospital) and by the U.S. State Department envoy to Sudan, Harry Johnston. No further actions have been taken.There are no military targets in the vicinity of the hospitals."These are simple people who live in grass huts, wear ragged clothes, and are barefooted," Isaacs said. "They are a threat to nobody in the world."Many of the community houses, called tuckels, were burning after the latest bombing. The village of Lui was deserted, and patients were removed from the hospital.The injuries in the latest bombing included a woman who had part of her hand blown off and a man with shrapnel in his back and a large laceration on his face. Several others were treated for shrapnel wounds.Sudan's civil war is the longest ongoing conflict in the world, starting 17 years ago. The toll of about two million deaths is the worst of any conflict since World War II. Sudan is divided by race and religion (the Arab Muslims who govern the north against the African Christians and animists who have rebelled in the south). The fighting has escalated as the government tries to maintain control of new oil wells in the south.
Samaritan's Purse site offers news and information about the
bombing, the ministry, and Franklin Graham.Likewise,
The Voice of the Martyrs site offers information about religious persecution, including news of the
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