Calgary man escapes fighting in South Sudan homeland

A Calgary man visiting family in South Sudan ended up trapped in a United Nations compound for three days after fighting broke out in the city of Juba.

Nhial Wicleek was visiting family in Juba when civil war erupted in December

Refugees from the fighting crowd the UN compound where Calgary man Nhial Wicleek spend three days. (Nhial Wicleek)

Calgary resident Nhial Wicleek was visiting family in the South Sudanese city of Juba when fighting erupted last month. 

  • Listen to his full interview on the Calgary Eyeopener:

The violence broke out on Dec. 15 between supporters of  former Vice President Riek Machar and those loyal to President Salva Kiir. The two men had a political falling-out and Kiir sacked Machar.

After telling his cousin it was not safe to stay in the area, Wicleek was able to hitchhike to a United Nations compound, where more than 40,000 people sought refuge from the violence.

He spent three days in the compound and described the conditions as deplorable. 

"It is chaos, there is no food, no water, no latrine and nowhere to sleep." he said.

There are efforts underway to bring the two sides together for peace talks.

Now back in Calgary, Wicleek said he is not optimistic the fighting will end soon.

"I'm worried a lot because the worst is yet to come," he said, adding that he still hears the gunfire in his dreams.