CHICAGO, IL (May 13, 2010) – Covenant World Relief (CWR) has sent emergency relief funds to help villagers in Southern Sudan who survived a deadly attack that claimed the lives of more than 100 people, including members of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Sudan (ECCS).
The violence took place in an area visited last fall by CWR Director David Husby, Department of World Mission Executive Minister Curt Peterson, and Covenant missionaries Pete and Cindy Ekstrand.
About 300 Arab nomads attacked the village of Kole-nyang around midnight on April 25, writes ECCS President Abraham Tuach Kier in an email to Husby. He reported that 103 people were killed, about 210 maimed, and more than 500 displaced.
“The victims are mainly children, women and old people who were not able to escape after the upsurge of the incident,” Kier wrote. “Many properties were looted and all the domestic animals and other belongings of that particular village were taken. All the houses and huts of cattle were burnt down and all the food stuffs and fishing materials were looted and destroyed.”
Kier added that the survivors are living under the shade of trees and depending on wild food, mainly tree leaves, fruits, and roots. Some are able to hunt. All of village shelters were burned to the ground. Families have been forced to live in the open and cook food over open fires (see accompany photos)
Attackers also poisoned the source for the village’s drinking water, Kier writes. The poison claimed 21 lives before villagers realized what had happened to the water.
Three ECCS congregations are located in the village and serve roughly 400 Christians, Kier wrote.
The ECCS has identified 30 of the most vulnerable families to receive assistance. The decisions were made regardless of religion, and Kier noted that only eight of the families are ECCS members.
Husby commended “the compassionate response of the leadership of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Sudan.”
The Islamic Northern Sudan government is backing the nomads, Kier said. The government wants to seize the oil-rich state of Jonglei, where the village is located, and force the population to become Muslims.
“These kinds of attacks on rural villages are unfortunately not uncommon in Sudan,” said Husby. “Since the outbreak of civil war in 1983, the people of South Sudan have lived with great political instability and threats of violence.”