MCC worker killed

A Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker in Afghanistan, Glen D. Lapp of Lancaster, Pa., was killed in early August in a shooting incident in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province. While others have died in MCC service from natural causes or accidents, Lapp was the second MCC worker known to have been targeted and killed.

Lapp was travelling with a medical team of four Afghans, six Americans, one Briton, and one German. All, including Lapp, worked with MCC partner organization International Assistance Mission (IAM), a charity providing eye care and medical help in Afghanistan. Local police found 10 bodies Aug. 6 next to abandoned vehicles. One Afghan team member travelled home via another route and is safe. Another Afghan survived the attack and was questioned by the police.

In media reports, IAM said the team had been testing and treating people with eye diseases in Nuristan province for about two weeks at the invitation of communities there. Three vehicles fitting the description of the team’s vehicles were discovered in the neighbouring province the day after the team failed to call in to IAM as agreed. Local police said robbery might have been the motive. The Taliban has said it is behind the attack.

Lapp was trained as a nurse, but his work in Afghanistan was as executive assistant and manager of IAM’s provincial ophthalmic care program. A member of a Mennonite Church USA congregation in Lancaster, Pa., Lapp was to complete his MCC term in October.

“The main thing that expats can do is to be a presence in the country,” Lapp wrote in a report about the region he was working in, “treating people with respect and with love and trying to be a little bit of Christ in this part of the world.”

Cheryl Zehr Walker, MCC director of communications

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