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Local Sudanese community reacts to unrest in South Sudan

By Alexis Fernandez 8:56 PM December 18, 2013

“We are affected by this war because it’s killing our families and it’s killing our country"

ANCHORAGE - The pain felt in South Sudan can also be felt here in Alaska, more than 7,000 miles away.

Wednesday, the local Sudanese community united at the Faith Christian Community church in West Anchorage to mourn the deaths of what they said are thousands of people killed in South Sudan this week.

“We are affected by this war because it’s killing our families and it’s killing our country,” said Nyapak Keke, who’s from South Sudan.

Nyakor Quet said ever since the country gained its independence in 2011, there’s been tension between political parties.

“This president is killing people — turns out to be an ethnic cleansing, that’s what is going on right now as we speak. People are being targeting by tribes, going door to door pulling people out. Families, women and children being killed,” Quet said.

The deadly clashes started Sunday in the capital of Juba after South Sudan President Salva Kiir said rival soldiers associated with the former vice president tried to overthrow his government.

Monday, the president told his country everything was under control.

“But civilians are dying in the streets … so obviously things are not under control, but he does not want the international community to know what’s going on,” Keke said.

The South Sudan government is releasing few details about the killings. It has confirmed, however, that 500 people have been killed and at least 800 wounded.

Nearly 20,000 civilians are seeking refuge at U.N. compounds. Local Sudanese people said it’s a step back for the country.

“We have suffered so much already because of what we have gone through — because of the civil war … now it’s starting all over again,” Keke said.

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