• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 46s

Unrest in South Sudan felt in the Last Frontier

By Alexis Fernandez 7:34 PM December 17, 2013

"A lot of fighting in the city" is how an Alaskan volunteer describes the turmoil

ANCHORAGE – The United States is asking its citizens in South Sudan to leave the country immediately after heavy gunfire was reported in Juba.

An estimated 13,000 civilians have sought refuge at U.N. compounds in Juba — South Sudan’s capital, according to the U.N.

On Monday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir accused soldiers loyal to Riek Machar, his former vice president, of attempting to overthrow the government. Hundreds of people are feared dead.

“I am asking these people, especially the leaders of South Sudan, to have unity at least; to unite this people of South Sudan; to make them one people, one country, one family. That is my message to them, because I don’t see the reason of killing innocent people for no reason,” a displaced person in the area said.

Caught in the middle is a group of volunteers from Alaska like Jason Hahn, the program director with the Alaska Sudan Medical Project.

“It really caused a citywide situation, a lot of fighting in the city — gunfire in the city,” he said via Skype.

Since 2008, the nonprofit organization has been traveling to the village of Old Fangak to help build water wells, and most recently, a clinic. But to get there, they have to go through Juba first, which is closed. A handful of volunteers, including its founder Dr. Jill Seaman, have been trying to get out.

For now, the oncoming team of volunteers is staying put in Nairobi, Kenya.

“Because of the serious situation … the airport being closed, and the fact that we really put a high degree of safety on our volunteers, they’re not going to make it over at this point to South Sudan,” Hahn said.

The oil-rich nation has been plagued by ethnic tension since it became its own country in 2011.

“This is the most serious situation that I’ve seen since I’ve been with ASMP, in the last four years that we’ve been in South Sudan,” Hahn said.

Because the violence is isolated to Juba, Hahn said, its group has not been impacted and is safe.

For now, all they can do is wait.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Immigration law experts react to SCOTUS decision on travel ban

    by Steffi Lee on Jun 26, 20:40

    The Supreme Court of the United States will hear full arguments on President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries while letting parts of it go into effect. The decision came down Monday. It impacts foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In the 9-0 ruling, justices will not allow the ban […]

  • Politics

    Impasse on oil tax bill stalls special session

    by Liz Raines on Jun 26, 20:33

    Lawmakers are still in special session, but only a handful are in Juneau. The capitol building will likely stay empty for the rest of the week, perhaps longer. That’s because Gov. Bill Walker has only put one item on the agenda– and it isn’t the one either side wanted. Lawmakers were expecting to take up […]

  • News

    Klatt Road roundabout design concerns some drivers

    by Heather Hintze on Jun 26, 17:54

    Drivers in South Anchorage are learning to navigate a new roundabout. Alaska Department of Transportation crews spent more than one month constructing a new traffic circle at the intersection of West Klatt Road and Johns Road. Some people took to social media to voice their complaints about the roundabout’s design, saying the concrete barriers in […]

  • News

    State gets approval for survey work for Cold Bay roadway

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 26, 17:49

    Governor Walker announced Monday the state has received permission to begin survey work that could lead to a road between King Cove and Cold Bay. Walker said he got a personal phone call Monday morning from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting him know the state could begin survey work to seek a route with the […]

  • News

    2 Marines badly burned in ground flash fire on U.S. base

    by CBS News on Jun 26, 15:13

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. — A ground flash fire on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar injured two Marines performing aircraft maintenance on an F/A-18 Sunday night, base officials say. The region has been experiencing extremely high temperatures, notes CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV. “Both Marines are currently being treated for severe burns at […]

  • News

    Duck pond at Cuddy Park is much cleaner

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 26, 13:50

    A “Don’t Feed the Birds” campaign seems to be making a difference when it comes to the duck pond at Cuddy Park. Thom Eley with the Anchorage Waterways Council said levels of fecal coliform, the bacteria that comes from bird feces, is normally sky-high this time of year, but two recent tests show the levels […]

  • Man wanted for failing to appear on assault charge

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 26, 13:47

    A 19-year-old man is wanted by Anchorage Police for failing to appear in court. Dominik Lacell Spivey has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear related to an assault charge from last March. Spivey is described as 5-foot-10, weighing 170 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. If you have information on his whereabouts, you’re asked […]

  • Humpback whale breaches super-close to boat off NJ coast

    by CBS News on Jun 26, 13:22

    A New Jersey man videotaped a humpback whale surging out of the water right alongside his small fishing boat last week, and the footage has gone viral. The whale showed up in the waters just a mile or so off the northern coast of New Jersey. Paul Ziolkowski, of Union Beach, caught the moment on […]