MAF teams go to Nyankunde for a damage and situational evaluation

By March 26, 2004

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN)–Peace accords in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo appear to be tenuously holding.

With the war’s official end, Mission Aviation Fellowship’s Dennis Fulton says their team just did a damage evaluation at the Nyankunde base.

MAF pilot Dave Jacobsson, Africa Regional Director Fran Derocher and four others also made contact with the tribal militias and encouraged UN officials to begin de-mining the village and airstrip, but staying there is still risky. Fulton says, “We just had flare-ups here very recently. So, that’s the reason we’re not back in there now, is because the area is still having problems with security. UN troops are in there, and because the UN troops are in there, they’re trying to bring order to the ethnic tensions there.”

Despite the damage, there were some encouraging signs. The base was looted, but people are beginning to return. Fulton says, “There is now some movement of little houses that are going up. It looks like there will be a possibility of the church restarting there, a possibility of maybe the clinic coming back in, and we’re hoping that we can get the UN troops to finish with the de-mining around the area.”

The main MAF hangar was intact, but completely emptied, bullet holes riddled the doors. Fran said, “We expected to find aircraft parts dumped off shelves and hardware strewn to and fro (as in previous lootings), but there wasn’t a screw or bolt to be found anywhere. All shelving was gone as well as any part or tool of any kind. Old props that hung on the hangar wall are gone.”

The smaller hangar is missing much of its roof. All the MAF houses and school are without roofs and emptied, but the walls are strong and standing. All appliances were either taken or stripped. Many doors, windows and their frames were gone. Many toilets and sinks were smashed and bath tubs taken.

Plans are being made for repairing at least one school building in anticipation of families returning. Bibles available at Beni are being sent to Pastor Katho who will get them over to Nyankunde.

While ministry continues from Bunia, restoring the Nyankunde operation is a growing desire. Please pray for divine wisdom as the village Chief desires to begin talking and reconciling with the communities around Nyankunde.

Pray too, for the healing of hearts and memories that can only come through God’s grace and power.

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