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South Sudanese In San Diego Concerned About Violence Back Home

Evening Edition

Aired 12/27/13 on KPBS News.

Members of the South Sudanese community in San Diego are concerned about violence in their homeland.

In recent weeks, fighting in South Sudan has caused more than 50,000 people to seek protection at United Nations peacekeeping bases there.

The violence in the fledgling nation worries South Sudanese living in the U.S. with family still in the country.

San Diego is home to more than 4,000 refugees from South Sudan. Most of them fled here because of extreme violence during the Sudanese civil war that eventually led to the creation of South Sudan as an independent country.

But now that new country — only 2-and-a-half years old — is on the brink of its own civil war.

Fighting spread around the country after clases between two groups of presidential guard soldiers, one loyal to President Salva Kiir and the other to ousted Vice President Riek Machar.

The fighting appears to be both politically and ethnically motivated: Kiir is a member of the Dinka ethnic group while Machar is from the Nuer group.

Mathew Riek, a member of the South Sudanese community in San Diego, said his sister is among those who’ve been forced from their homes by violence in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

“What she told me is that the situation is bad,” Riek, who is Nuer, said. “They have gone many days (with) no water, no food, no clothes.”

Riek and Chuol Tut, who heads the Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego, said ethnic Nuer people were being targeted by presidential-guard soldiers in Juba. Tut is also Nuer.

The U.N is investigating several mass graves in South Sudan. It’s also investigating reports of arbitrary detentions, mass rapes and other abuses. Victims are reportedly both Nuer and Dinka.

Just before Christmas the United States moved additional Marines and aircraft to the region in case help is needed with evacuations or security for the U.S. embassy in Juba.

The leaders of Ethiopia and Kenya traveled to South Sudan on the day after Christmas in hopes of brokering a peace deal.

It’s estimated that more than 1,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 27, 2013 at 9:28 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

That is nice, but lets send Hillary to Uganda to promote gay rights because that is more important... right?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 28, 2013 at 6:37 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

Sad to say, but you are right this time, John Markkk. American liberals are more concerned with trendy political issues and sloganeering. The Hill woman is no help but an embarrassment. The tribalism described above is what led, in large part, to the genocide in Rwanda in April, 1994. This tribalism is what the great African anti-colonial revolutionary leaders and the Pan-Africanists of the 50s. 60s and 70s fought against in order to form unity.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 29, 2013 at 12:25 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

If either of you actually looked-up Mrs. Clinton's stances on Sudan, you would see she has spoken out against the violence quite a bit, and it has been an important topic at the U.N.

If you feel she didn't do enough, then what do you want beyond speaking-out, diplomacy, diplomatic visits and U.N. involvement ?

The only thing left would have been military action and that's not something the Secretary of State can authorize.

As for the anti-gay law in Uganda, it was going to give the death penalty or many years in prison for gays and even many years in prison for people who don't turn-in "suspected gays".

The proposed law was a human rights abuse and right-wing U.S. politicians with their hands in it.

It would have been irresponsible for the U.S. government NOT to come out against it.

But it has nothing to do with Sudan, and the attack on Hillary is completely unwarranted.

If you want to blame someone, blame the media for giving more attention to Clinton's words on the anti-gay Uganda law than her words on Sudan.

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