John Newton and Filipe d’Avillez
(ZENIT News / Khartoum, 11.07.2023).- A bomb has caused major damage to the Salesian Sisters’ mission centre in Sudan.
Dar Mariam Mission in Khartoum – which houses five religious Sisters, a priest and lay people who sought refuge there – was hit at 6.50am last Friday (3rd November).
Fr Jacob Thelekkadan, the resident priest, said that the bomb hit the building’s first floor, and those in the house at the time thought it was a miracle that no one was killed.
Casualties were minimised as the women and children staying there were all gathered on the ground floor at the time.
Fr Thelekkadan said: “We cannot imagine the harm that these explosions would have caused if it landed on the ground floor.”
Some residents suffered slight injuries. One young mother and her two children, aged seven and four, received minor head wounds.
The first floor, which sustained most of the damage, houses most of the bedrooms.
Fr Thelekkadan told ACN that the bomb broke into two when it hit the building, causing two explosions.
The priest said: “The first part of the bomb shattered the teacher’s room, hurting him on both his legs, but not very seriously.
“The second part of the bomb shattered the two rooms of the Sisters and their room doors flew off and fell a metre away.
“Two of the Salesian Sisters were in one room and the room door and toilet door fell on them. One of them was injured in the back, though not seriously.
“The doors probably saved her from the heavy shrapnel of the bomb.”
He added: “The bomb then tore through the brick wall of the toilet, making a large hole, and then through the brick wall of the room of two other Sisters who were already in the ground-floor chapel.”
All those injured in the blasts were taken to hospital, but have already been discharged.
Fr Thelekkadan said a painting of Our Lady was destroyed, adding “We are certain that Our Blessed Mother wanted to sacrifice herself for all of us.
“Thus, the beautiful portrait of Our Blessed Mother shattered into pieces. I want to reiterate the continuous provident care of God on all in Dar Mariam.
“The maternal protection of Our Blessed Mother reigns in Dar Mariam.”
Fr Thelekkadan was in charge of St Joseph’s Vocational Centre in Khartoum, which closed because of heavy fighting.
He stayed in Sudan to support the Salesian sisters who are looking after not only women and children, but also the elderly and infirm at the Dar Mariam Mission.
The priest said: “Continue to pray that this senseless and tragic war will come to an end and that God may grant the gift of lasting peace to the Sudan.”
Estimates vary, but according to the UN special envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes, at least 5,000 people have been killed, and over 12,000 wounded since the conflict started in April.