Bombing Kills 13 Near Samaritan’s Purse Hospital In Southern Sudan
More Casualties Expected as Attacks Deter Many from Receiving Life-Saving Treatment at Lui Hospital in Southern Sudan
The Government of Sudan's jet bombers killed 13 civilians—including four children—in an attack Saturday, Sept. 21, on Lui, a village in southern Sudan where Boone, N.C.-based Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization, operates a hospital.
Lui Hospital was not damaged and remains open to treat the injured, however the attacks are expected to cause more casualties as a result of untreated diseases. Many villagers are likely to avoid traveling to the hospital, fearing Lui will be attacked again.
The 80-bed surgical hospital in Lui, opened by Samaritan's Purse in 1997, is the only advanced medical care for the more than 400,000 people who live within a two-week walk of Lui. More than 40 international doctors have served there, including Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Besides the hospital, the only other significant building in Lui is an Anglican church damaged by bombs during Christmas week of 2000.
The use of Russian-built jets represents an unprecedented deadly escalation in the government's attacks on southern Sudanese villages. Previously, slower planes' noisy propellers warned villagers to hide in bomb shelters or caves. In the seven attacks in 2000 and another on September 12, 2002, high-flying prop planes dropped almost 70 bombs on Lui, causing three deaths. In the attack last Saturday, jets dropped four bombs on a cattle camp set up by unarmed Dinka tribesmen; it was more precise and the victims had no chance to flee.
"The cattle camp that was bombed had no soldiers, no equipment, no machines, no guns, no communication devices, no bicycles, and no military targets of any nature—just Dinka and cattle," said Ken Isaacs, the international director of projects for Samaritan's Purse.
Since 1983, Sudan has been split by a civil war that began when the Arab-led government tried to impose Islamic law on the predominantly black African southerners, many of them Christians.
Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, works in more than 100 countries around the world, helping victims of disasters, war, poverty, disease, famine, and persecution. In 2000 and 2001, Samaritan's Purse was recognized by SmartMoney magazine as the most efficient religious charity in the United States.
For more information, or to contact Samaritan's Purse, see their website at: www.samaritanspurse.org
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