MAF evacuating missionaries in Chad/Sudan

By December 11, 2006

Chad/Sudan (MNN) — Mission Aviation Fellowship is on high alert as fighting has resumed in Sudan and rebel offensives continue in Chad. Fighting in Sudan has left 300 dead, while rebels have taken entire villages in Chad. MAF is taking action.

President of MAF Kevin Swanson says Chad is a major concern for their base in the capital. “The rebel activity has actually been moving closer and closer to the capital to the point where a lot of mission organizations, MAF included, have decided that it is time to evacuate their staff — get them out of harms way.”

Rebels have captured another eastern Chad town after fighting government troops, says a rebel spokesperson. In recent weeks, Chadian rebels had captured and later retreated from several eastern Chad towns as well as capturing tanks, heavy arms and equipment from government forces.

It’s a little different situation in Sudan, says Swanson. MAF doesn’t have a base in Sudan, but they do service the country. He says renewed fighting is forcing them to take action. “This military clash has escalated to the point where it’s been dangerous for civilians and dangerous for foreign workers as well — some of the people that we serve there — that depend on MAF for their transportation services — have made the decision to evacuate.”

The fighting in the southern Sudan forced United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to ordered non-essential U.N. and aid agency staff to leave the area. MAF also helped evacuate some of those individuals.

This is just one of the reasons why MAF is needed on the mission field. Swanson says that’s why they need regular prayer and financial support. “It costs us money to maintain this MAF service and in cases like this where the demands are much higher. There’s a lot more flying and fuel and maintenance expenses do go up.”

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