How evacuating Chinese nationals amid gunfire transformed Athaui Deng’s career
Athuai Deng Akok, a South Sudanese national working with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) who helped evacuate to safety 110 Chinese nationals during the 2013 and 2016 conflicts in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

How evacuating Chinese nationals amid gunfire transformed Athaui Deng’s career

Bravery and defiance are some of the outstanding virtues that helped South Sudanese national Athuai Deng Akok to evacuate 120 of his Chinese colleagues amid heavy gunfire that rocked Juba, the capital of South Sudan in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

Akok, 38 years old currently working as the business manager for the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) branch in South Sudan was recently named the 2022 Ambassador of Silk Road Friendship for his brave act.

“In 2013, nobody could have imagined how worse the situation was then, the war was inside Juba town and my Chinese colleagues were living near to Juba town,” Akok told The Juba Echo on Friday, June 17th in Juba.

It is such daring traits that made Akok become the first African to be awarded on May 31, the honorary title of the Ambassador of Silk Road Friendship out of over 100 candidates worldwide.

The competition he emerged victorious was conducted online under the theme, “Telling the stories of Belt and Road Initiative participants”.

The ceremony was co-hosted by the China International Cultural Exchange Center and the Global People Magazine. 

In December 2013, the streets of Juba went quiet after millions of people scampered for safety in their residences following a gunfire exchange between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and his then Vice President Riek Machar.

But Akok risked his life to come out of his home in the Gudele suburb located North East of Juba, the capital to save the lives of not only his Chinese colleagues but also high-tech equipment owned by CHEC.

Prior to the outbreak of conflict, CHEC had already started the project of rehabilitating, expanding and modernizing Juba International Airport. 

“We spent more than three days indoors, but I was in constant communication with my colleagues through telephone and Wechat,” Akok said while reminiscing the brave escape amid a hail of bullets from Juba.

Akok revealed that on Dec. 21, he managed to access the office of CHEC where several Chinese were holed up before travelling with them on a risky journey by the road along the 170 km Juba-Nimule route to the Ugandan border town of Atiak.

“I decided to walk from my house in Gudele up to where our office was located in Hai Cinema. At that moment there were no public transport vehicles on the roads, you could only see the national army, machine guns and armoured personnel carriers,” he disclosed.

On the very morning of Dec. 21, Akok and 10 of his Chinese colleagues started their journey toward the border town of Nimule where he was able to facilitate their journey onwards to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. 

Facebook Comments Box