BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN (May 24, 2012) – Eighty percent of the students at Good Hope Academy, which was built with funds donated at CHIC 2006, still have not returned to the school since a Sudan Armed Forces just missed hitting it with a bomb last month.
Sudan and South Sudan have been embroiled in a violent border conflict over oil-rich land. Fighting broke out in early April.
Sudanese military forces have dropped numerous bombs on the civilian population of Bentiu and nearby areas, says Matthew Jock, director of development for the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan (ECCSS). The denomination operates the school.
One bomb killed five civilians and wounded many others at a market located near Good Hope on the same day the school was nearly struck, Jock says. There have been no bombings in two weeks. “The students hesitate to resume their classes because they are afraid the Sudan warplanes may resume bombardments at any time.”
Student at CHIC 2006 raised more than $100,000 to build the school. At least 1,900 students attend the school. It was dedicated in 2009. Click here to view the dedication video.
The school is considered among the best in the area by the Unity State’s Ministry of Education. The impact of the fighting on the school and its students has been featured in South Sudanese and international media, including a recent broadcast on National Public Radio.
Jock says he hopes that current peace talks will lead to an end in the violence. Despite the danger, the ECCSS still plans to build additional classrooms at Good Hope, Jock says.
Click here to read a previous Covenant News Service story on the school.