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United Methodist, peace group, leave Iraq

4/2/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York

NOTE: For related coverage, see UMNS #196.

By United Methodist News Service

The United Methodist making a witness for peace in Baghdad has left Iraq along with other members of the Christian Peacemakers Teams and Iraq Peace Team.

Scott Kerr, 27, a member of First United Methodist Church in Downers Grove, Ill., and the other team members managed to travel safely from the Iraqi capital to the Iraq-Jordan border, and they crossed into Jordan on April 1.

Claire Evans, personnel and delegation coordinator for CPT, said the group had decided to leave because the increasing security restrictions placed upon them by the Iraqi government made it difficult to move around independently.

CPT, which was working in Iraq with the Voices in the Wilderness organization, places "violence-reduction" teams in conflict areas around the world. The goal in Iraq was to "accompany and befriend civilians in the event of escalating violence," the team said in a March 17 statement.

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