Mama Shekinah Film Project


It was on 5th Nov 2005. They were supposed to travel on the 4th of Nov but I think there was a change of flights and so they traveled on the 5th from Arua in Northern Uganda into Yei in south Sudan and fell into a Lords Resistance Army (LRA) ambush.

These were the very people Hedwig and Colin had traveled half the world to minister the love of God. On the day Colin died I was present. I was in the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) compound around 7km from the IAS compound when I received a call from Uganda asking if Colin and Hedwig had arrived to which I answered in the negative.

I later got a call that there had been an ambush and Colin and Hedwig were at the Yei hospital. We were later to learn that there had been a warning issued that morning that the LRA had entered Sudan from northern Uganda. The borders at Kaya (Northern Uganda/South Sudan) had been requested to halt all incoming traffic from Kaya border into Sudan and apparently due to lack of communication equipment, this message was not relayed in good time to the team transporting Colin and Hedwig.

The driver transporting them was a former soldier and he heard gun nozzles from a distance and communicated to Hedig and Colin to lie down but things happened very abruptly. The driver jumped off the car and rolled into the ground and escaped with a bullet shot on the upper arm. He managed to escape and return to Northen Uganda (koboko) where he passed on the information of ambush to the Programs country director. We rushed to Yei hospital where Colin had been admitted in a ward at around 7:15pm.

Being a weekend, there were no doctors on call but only medical students.  I remember seeing him in the ward with a bandage on his back where a bullet had exited. Hedwig knelt by him and whispered words of encouragement to him slowly all the time. She was caked in blood and had no shoes on. While at the ward, Hedwig relayed to us their ordeal at a place called Morobo where they were sprayed with bullets that hit Colin on the neck and back.

The attackers took all their possessions burned the organization’s vehicle NS 929 A. At the time, the International Criminal Court (ICC) had issued a warrant of arrest against Joseph Kony, the LRA leader in October of 2006. In retaliation of this warrant of arrest, his soldiers had sought to attack humanitarian workers working within their vicinity.

Back at the hospital, Colin’s condition deteriorated and he was taken to theatre to try and stop the bleeding. They needed some blood transfusion and since I knew mine was O positive, I accompanied a student nurse to have my blood drawn. As they were running compatibility tests I went inside the theatre, I was not prepared for what I saw. Collins lay there, his tongue was so swollen, they had tubes through his mouth to his chest trying to remove clotted blood, but he had lost so much blood.

Hedwig stood by his side all the time, saying “I love you”, “I love you”, and praying in tongues. When he breathed his last, Hedwig covered his eyes and said to him “bye” and “I love you”. At that time, I ran out saying, “he is gone”, “he is gone”. We drove back to the IAS compound and brought a blanket which was used to wrap his body as we removed it from the hospital as it did not have any mortuary. I could feel his cold lifeless hand as we were sitted in an open pickup and transported him back to the IAS guest house which was 4km away.

The men had his body washed and tied both his arms and legs tight and placed him in a “tukul”- a hut and covered him with a bedsheet. I embraced Hedwig in my arms, not knowing what to say. Her hair had been caked in blood, so was her dress and she had no shoes. I provided a change of clothes for her. At the time she was 3 months pregnant. She spoke to the baby in the tummy and told her everything would be okay.

That night, Hedwig spent the night in the same tukul with Colin but on different beds. A number of female colleagues slept with them in the room as well. What amazed me about Hedwig was that she kept quoting scripture verses from the Bible and I marveled at the strength that could only have been from the Lord. She did not cry then and neither did I see a tear from her the next morning. I remember her reading from Isaiah 54:10 to all the people in the tukul “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed says the Lord who has compassion on you”.

The next morning, Colin’s body was put in the TV room “tukul” and embalmed by one of our medical staff, Mama Hellen, as we waited for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) team to evacuate his body to Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.     -Faith Ndunge

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