118 Days | Sojourners

118 Days

On Nov. 26, 2005, four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq—Tom Fox, James Loney, Norman Kember, and Harmeet Singh Sooden—were taken captive at gunpoint near the Umm al-Qura mosque in Baghdad by men who later identified themselves as the Swords of Righteousness Brigade. Through videos and statements sent to the Arabic-language television network al-Jazeera, the captors threatened to kill the four men unless the Iraqi government freed its prisoners and U.S. and British forces left Iraq.

On March 9, 2006, Tom Fox was killed and his body dumped in a residential neighborhood in western Baghdad. He died from gunshot wounds to his head and chest. After 118 days in captivity, Loney, Kember, and Sooden were released March 23, 2006, when intelligence gathered by British forces led to a raid on the house where the men were held. The captors had left before the soldiers arrived. No one was harmed in the extraction.

During the four months that the CPT members were held, a worldwide coalition of supporters emerged—including Palestinian children, Iraqi peace activists, and Islamic political leaders. After their release, Christian Peacemaker Teams, in consultation with Iraqi partners, decided to transfer their operation to northern Iraq. CPT—which is a program of the historic peace churches in the U.S. and Canada, including Brethren, Quaker, and Mennonite churches—currently has 190 members working on projects in Iraq, Colombia, Palestine, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and along the U.S.-Mexico border, training people of faith in the principles and practice of nonviolence to enter conflict zones and promote peace.—The Editors

We were taken one by one...an abductor at each arm, into a living room and pushed onto a couch.

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Sojourners Magazine December 2006
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