So we wanted to get this blog post up in order keep everyone informed on what happened here in Gulu last night. Late in the evening right as we were getting into bed, we started to hear distant pops that sounded a little more like firecrackers than gunshots. After about two minutes they got close enough to tell for sure that it was gunfire.
Thankfully the Nolley’s, whose guesthouse we are staying in, have a night guard on their compound, so we had eyes on the situation from the beginning. That was probably the scariest part of the night because right after we were able to tell that it was for sure gunfire, Martin (the guard) closed our windows, so then I thought there was someone trying to get into our room. I spent about 2 minutes being terrified from that point then after nerves cooled a little and we were able to walk across to the Nolleys house for two reasons. One because the door on the guest house is busted so it doesn’t lock, and two because they have three kids to worry about so Kent was comforted to have another pair of able hands and Becca was grateful to have Kristin here in case she needed help getting the kids out. We prayed and waited in the dark house. We wound up spending the night on the night on the Nolley’s couches and everything passed just fine. After 50 minutes of intense gunfire and firefights coming up and down our street plus about 2 hours of sporadic machine gun fire afterwards, the sun came up today on a peaceful morning.
So the news sources here are not the most reliable in the world, but here is what we know, though not all of makes perfect sense. The fighting started at a bank, and it was first thought that there was a bank robbery and subsequent chase. The next report that we heard was that there was an assault on the central police station in town.
Apparently back in May there was an attack by an upcoming rebel group on a police armory where eight guns were taken. This is potentially related. Also a few weeks ago the government arrested a member of the Uganda People Congress on suspicion of planning a government coup. Also probably related.
From reading as much as we can and putting it together, this seems to be the prevailing story. The government arrested this guy, and his supporters came up with a plan to rescue him. So they hit the armory first to get themselves armed, then assaulted the police station where he was being held in order to break him out, but were thwarted by police. The gunfight ensued through the streets of Gulu and hours afterward the sporadic fire was probably armed night guards letting people know not to mess with their places. Somehow there was a bank related in these events, but no one really seems to know how that fits into the mess.
The one road going out of Gulu to the south is currently closed at the Nile bridge, so no one can go in or out.
God protected us and saw us through the night, there should be little to worry about now. We don’t have reports of any innocent people injured by the events but with hundreds of rounds fired, chances are there are a few casualties. Pray for them and their families, and for the safety of the police. Also please pray for Terebinth Ministries, today is the first day of this month’s class that we have been working up too and spending all our time preparing for, and I believe the timing is not a coincidence. Also please pray for our team as last night was the cherry on top of a bad week for some of our folks, and discouragement is so easy to fall into.
We are so blessed to be able to be here. We thank everyone who prayed for us and continues to pray for us. The world is full of darkness but light has come into the world! It's such an honor to serve our great King Jesus! :)