LOUISVILLE (PNS) – Longtime Presbyterian mission co-worker Leisa Wagstaff is currently “sheltering in place” as fighting escalates in Juba, South Sudan. Efforts are underway to evacuate her to a safe location. Other South Sudan mission co-workers are currently traveling in the U.S., visiting churches.
Rather than celebrating South Sudan’s fifth anniversary of independence, residents were surrounded by intense fighting in the capital city of Juba. South Sudan is the world’s youngest country.
BBC and several other international news organizations are reporting that fighting between South Sudan’s government and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar has killed more than 200 in Juba. Wagstaff said, by phone, that gunfire and large explosions are happening all over the city, and heavy artillery is in use. The UN Security Council called on the warring factions to immediately stop fighting, fearing a repeat of the events of December 2013 that degenerated into a wide-ranging conflict where tens of thousands died.