Suicide Bomber Attacks Sudan Church Killing Five Youngsters

Thursday, October 4, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife) -- Christians in southern Sudan on Wednesday, October 3, continued mourning the death of five youngsters who were killed when a suicide bomber burst into an evening worship service in Khorfulus in the county's Upper Nile State, United Nations officials and church leaders said.

"On September 27, a soldier of [the rebel group] Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) attacked worshipers with a hand grenade in a church in Khorfulus" about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south-west of the state capital Malakal, confirmed the United Nations Mission in Sudan in comments monitored by BosNewsLife.

"The incident took place during the evening church service," the UN said. Four members of the congregation, identified by Christians as Donguei Matok Chan, 8, Dhieu Nyandual, 20, and two 11-year-old girls, Nyaniok Ryak Chol Ayoum and Nyawyly Kon Rwaj, "died on the spot," while at least nine others, mostly children, "were seriously injured," the UN added.

The fifth victim, 17-year-old Simon Chol Charles Thon Arob, "succumbed to the injury" about one day later in Malakal General Hospital, said the UN Mission in Sudan. Leaders of a newly-formed association of evangelical Baptist churches said in published remarks that Reverend John Monykuer, who was leading the worship service, and the wife of another pastor were also among the injured. The motives behind the attack were not immediately clear. Local officials and Chrisians have not excluded that the attack of the apparently drunk man was meant to intimidate churches.


All victims were meanwhile buried. Local media described the attack as the most serious incident targeting Christians in Khorfulus County, since the signing of a peace agreement ended fighting between SPLA fighters and government forces. Nearly two million civilians were killed in southern Sudan, and more than four million displaced during the war, making it the 20th century's most deadliest and devastating conflicts since World War Two.

News of the attack came as the World Council of Churches (WCC) also expressed concerns about violence elsewhere in Sudan, especially in Darfur, where the UN estimates that over 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million driven from their homes to live in camps.

In a "Minute on Darfur" approved at its 25-28 September meeting in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, "where [a] genocide [that happened] nearly a century ago still casts a deep shadow," the WCC governing body encouraged the Council’s member churches to "provide humanitarian aid to Darfur through [the aid group] Action by Churches Together (ACT) International and to hold its people in their prayers," the WCC told

"More than 4 million [are] directly affected by the conflict [and] the violence has spread across the border into neighboring Chad," WCC said. Since July 2004, ACT International and its partner Caritas Internationalis have channeled resources from some 60 Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox church organizations and their donors "into one of the largest humanitarian programs" in South and West Darfur, "delivering essential hundreds of thousands of people," the WCC claimed. (With reporting from Sudan).

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