MAF back in offices in Congo after scare

By April 4, 2007

DR Congo (MNN) — Ex-warlord Jean Pierre Bemba, the man
defeated in the Democratic Republic of Congo's first free elections, has been
threatened to be arrested on treason charges. The charges stem from last week's armed
conflict between government forces and up to 600 Bemba loyalists. Up to 600
people were killed.

The fighting in Kinshasa also affected Mission Aviation
, says MAF's Congo Program Manager Garth Pederson. "Fortunately
none of our staff were there. We were able to flee (the office). All of our families — five
missionary families — as well as our 13 national staff. In some of our national staff neighborhoods,
there were some mortars that fell, but fortunately we're very thankful that all
of our staff are safe."

However, Pederson says MAF aircraft didn't fair as well.
"Two of our three airplanes were damaged in the fighting last week. And,
although they were in the hangers, a couple of stray rounds came through and
damaged the airplanes."

According to Pederson, quite a few flights were canceled, which was devastating. "There was one lady that we had planned to do a
medevac flight for in the northern part of the country, and we were unable to do
that because of the damage–and the airports were closed. And, unfortunately, I
just found out that this lady passed away."

The MAF team has returned to Congo. While MAF is flying
again, the missions are limited because of the damaged aircraft. "One
aircraft we did some temporary repairs and then ferried to another location–another
one of our bases –where we can do further repairs. The other one we were able
to do some initial repairs to keep it flying, but we'll do the further repairs
at the next inspection."

Funding is needed to help pay for the unexpected repairs to
the airplanes and to their headquarters. 

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