Calgary's South Sudanese community seeks answers after shooting death

Calgary, November 12, 206 (GCDC) - Leaders from Calgary's South Sudanese community are appealing for help from various levels of government in the wake of a shooting that left a man in his 20s dead.

"The community is very shocked about this incident and it has been repeatedly happening," said Khor Top, president of the South Sudanese Community Association.

"The community is really terrified by this situation and do not know what to do."


South Sudanese Community Association president Khor Top is asking for help from various levels of government to deal with youth crime. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

The body of a man was found in a home in the 2400 block of 47th Street S.E. following reports of a shooting just before 5 a.m. Friday.

Friends have identified the victim as Abiem Akel, 23. Police said Saturday numerous people are in custody however few other details have been released. 

A workshop was held Saturday to try and bridge what Top sees as a generational gap and to educate older community members on the pressures faced by teenagers and young adults.

"Some of the South Sudanese families, they don't know how the process actually works, how do these young people in the community get into gangs and violence and crime," he said.

"So we invited specialists to come and educate the community about the situation. People come from a society where drugs and gangs and related issues was not there."

Coming to a larger centre like Calgary is "overwhelming" for some community members, said Top.

"The families had no idea what is really going on and how they could help their children," he said.

"It's very shocking, it's very sad."

Top said he'd like further support from various levels of government to deal with the issue of crime prevention.

"It has been things that happen and happen over and over again, we bury children and youth all the time, it's very sad," he said.

"We want help, we want support from a level of government to intervene in the situation because otherwise, the community is not going to do anything."

Youth leader Nyawargak Joseph says more must be done to stop young people from turning to crime. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

A youth leader in the South Sudanese community, Nyawargak Joseph called the death needless.

"Honestly, I feel like it's becoming a routine, it feels like every couple of months we're burying  a youth," she said.

"I have all these mixed feelings… I didn't know him but the fact he's a fellow South Sudanese, it saddened me, we're losing another a youth that could have potentially grown our community or brought it together." (CBC News)