Intense fighting amid a coup attempt in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, has forced the Israeli aid group IsraAid to suspend its operations in the country and go on lockdown.

The heavy gunfire in Juba began late Sunday night, and IsraAid members reported artillery and automatic weapons fire in their vicinity.

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Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, which became an independent country in July 2011, announced on Monday that he had successfully put down the coup attempt by soldiers loyal to former Deputy President Riek Machar, whom Kiir dismissed over the summer. The president declared a nighttime curfew in Juba.

“I have been living in Juba for the past two years. I got to know the people of South Sudan, and their determination to reach peace and stability,” Ophelie Namiech, IsraAid’s regional director for East and Central Africa wrote in an email sent to supporters. “For the first time, I see people being scared for their lives, praying and hoping to find ways of survival.”

IsraAid runs programs in Juba focused on gender, social development and security sector reform. South Sudan and Israel have some defense and trade ties, and many South Sudanese are pro-Israel.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Isra-Aid should not be in moslem southern Sudan but rather in Israel to aid the 1.6 million Jewish poor and rescue jewish children from starvation. I do not want Jewish donations going to help our enemies but rather to our brothers and sister who need help.

    Will someone help our poor or are you not ashamed since your parents taught you about Zidokah for Jewish poor and not to arabs, Nazi germans, Nazi Turks,

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