A Scary Ambush!

A Scary Ambush!

by Sr. Eilis Weber MMM                        Ireland                                  14.06.2024

Sr. Eilis remembers her time in Angola.  MMM staffed Chiulo Hospital in the south of Angola from 1953 up to 2002.  This was during the years of the struggle for independence, war and civil unrest.

The war was at its height. The South African Army had invaded Angola across the southern border, looking for Swapo guerrillas. One day we were returning to Chiulo Hospital with much needed supplies and food, from the city of Lubango 300 km to the north. Along the road, we were told South African troops were ahead. We tacked a white flag to a stick and held it out the window hoping it would show that we were people of peace. It was very difficult to hold this against the high wind. We were about twenty kilometres from our hospital, when we heard the shots. The Landover shuddered and went out of control. The tyres had been hit. We knew we were being ambushed.

Luckily our driver, Parafuso, succeeded in bringing the vehicle to a stop in the ditch, without injury to any of us. When the soldiers saw that we were two expatriate women with the Red Cross of an Ambulance painted on the sides and roof, they were shocked at what they had done. Our vehicle was totally destroyed. They brought us into the bush, and after some communication by radio with HQ, told us a chopper would be coming to collect us. Half an hour later we heard the sound of the helicopter approaching. As soon as it landed they swept us into it and we were airborne within 60 seconds. They were terrified of Swapo sniper fire.

At the army HQ they made us tea in a billycan, and two hours later flew us home. We had none of the supplies we had risked our lives to get, but we were never so happy to see Chiulo!