Christian peacemakers return to Baghdad

 Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) members Scott Kerr, 27, from Illinois, USA, and Stewart Vriesinga, 46, from Ontario, Canada, returned today to Baghdad to monitor events in the city following the arrival of US forces. The two had been in Amman, Jordan, since April 1 when concerns about increasingly tight resources and stricter limits on their work by Iraqi authorities led CPT to leave Baghdad. Kerr, in a call to CPT's Chicago office this morning, reported that gunfire on the road from the Jordanian border was sporadic but distant. "There is a very heavy military presence in the neighbourhood of Baghdad where we are staying," he said. In outlining the team's work before leaving Amman, Vriesinga said: "We plan to renew contacts with our friends and neighbours in Baghdad, hear their stories of the invasion and its aftermath, and hold prayer vigils at military checkpoints and other areas of tension." The team is aware that power, water, food, and accommodation are in short supply in the city. Communications will also be difficult because of the power shortages and the destruction of the telephone system by the bombing. Kerr said Wednesday that phone service is still disrupted at their hotel. CPT hopes to send additional team members to Baghdad within a few days once this initial team gets established. CPT maintained a continuous presence in Iraq from October 2002 until April 1. There are still there in Amman. Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative of the (Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Quakers) with support and membership from a range of Catholic and Protestant denominations.

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