Gun-Toting Cleric Held in Khartoum

CONTROVERSIAL city Christian missionary and pro-gun lobbyist Peter Hammond has been arrested and charged with treason in Sudan.

Hammond's Frontline Fellowship organisation in Cape Town disclosed that he was detained at the weekend.

According to the organisation, Hammond was arrested with a Sudanese bishop by intelligence agents of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army in a church building in Yei province on Saturday.

Hammond, of Rondebosch, has worked as a missionary and founder of the Frontline Fellowship, a Protestant non-denominational, evangelical mission that specialises in taking the gospel into the conflict hotspots of Africa.

Now Hammond finds himself detained in a house guarded by rebel soldiers.

Fellowship spokesman Charl van Wyk said Hammond and Bishop Bullen Dolli of the Episcopal Church of Sudan were arrested while lecturing at a seminar.

Hammond's passport was seized.

They were taken away for a three-hour interrogation by the SPLA.

Van Wyk said Hammond had left South Africa with Christian worker Timothy Kellar.

Kellar avoided arrest when soldiers mistakenly detained a guest instead.

Kellar left for Nairobi soon afterwards.

Van Wyk said: "At present Peter and the Bishop are under house arrest and being detained against their will.

The SPLA would not let them leave on two flights that were organised."

The SPLA is fighting against the Sudanese government's Islamic rule.

The rebels control almost the entire south of the country.

The brush is not the first for Hammond.

The Muslim Sudan government declared him an undesirable figure in 1999 and accused him of supplying arms and training to the SPLA.