Sudanese Refugees in Omaha Wrestle with Rise of Street Gangs

John Rudolf, Huffington Post, December 23, 2011

When government soldiers from the north attacked Mun Nam Koak’s village in southern Sudan nearly 20 years ago, he fled on foot to safety in neighboring Ethiopia. With his infant son on his back, the 22-year-old Nam and his wife took only what they could carry on their three-day trek to the crowded refugee camps across the border.

Three years later, Koak’s young family arrived in Des Moines, Iowa, part of a growing population of Sudanese refugees who relocated to the Midwest in search of a better, safer life. He studied English and found a steady job at a nursing home.

Back in his homeland this July, a historic referendum established South Sudan as a separate nation after decades of brutal civil war with the north. Koak joined thousands of jubilant Sudanese in Iowa and across the country cheering this day of independence. But his elation was short-lived.

Late last month, his son, James Mun, 19, was gunned down in an empty lot on Omaha’s gritty north side, as he drank beer with a group of friends early one Saturday morning. Police have made no arrests in the case.

“I can never imagine that I would end up losing my son on the streets of the United States,” Koak said.

Mun’s murder is the grim consequence of a rising tide of youth and gang violence afflicting Sudanese refugees in the U.S., who have settled mainly in Nebraska, Iowa and other Midwest states. From weekend brawls to shootings and robberies, young Sudanese are victims and victimizers, ending up in hospital beds, behind bars–or dead.

Sudanese street gangs that began forming around 2003 are responsible for the most serious violence, according to Bruce Ferrell, a former gang unit detective with the Omaha Police Department.

“They’ve been involved in a murder attempt on a witness, drive-by shootings, robberies,” said Ferrell, who now leads the Midwest Gang Investigators Association, a non-profit group that studies gang trends in the region. “We’ve had a number of kids getting locked up.”

With no more than 350 members overall, most of them teenagers, the Sudanese gangs represent a small fraction of a massive nationwide gang problem, in which an estimated 1.4 million gang members commit nearly half of all violent crimes in most jurisdictions, according to law enforcement surveys. But their illegal acts earned them a brief mention for the first time in the FBI’s latest national gang threat assessment, released this October.

The agency described African Pride, which began in Omaha but has spread to Lincoln and other Midwest cities with Sudanese refugee populations, as the “most aggressive and dangerous” of the gangs. Other gangs include the South Sudan Soldiers, TripSet and 402, who take their name from the Nebraska area code.

{snip}

One critical problem for the Sudanese community was a lack of preparation by the city’s public schools for the complex needs of refugee families, said Susan Mayberger, coordinator for migrant and refugee programming for Omaha Public Schools. The school district has taken steps to address the problem by adding programs that encourage parental involvement, she said.

“I am afraid that with the Sudanese community, with a lot of the parents, we weren’t supporting them to the same level that we are now,” Mayberger said.

{snip}

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  • Question Diversity

    The title of this article is foolish, because the Sudanese in Obama, Nebraska can’t be “wrestling with the rise of street gangs” when they are the street gangs. The only way they’re not is if the existing Hispanic gangs (Obama has a big Hispanic population) are thumping the newer Sudanese.

  • Anonymous

    “A lack of preparation by the city’s public schools for their complex needs”.

    That means more blame whitey and praise for the contributions, indeed the existence, of people of color. Not enough is being done! They wont be happy until we are all dead.

  • Tom S.

    *Koak joined thousands of jubilant Sudanese in Iowa and across the country cheering this day of independence.

    But is he “jubilant” enough to now return to his beloved Sudan now that they have their “independence”? I’ll put my money on it that he’ll decide to stay in Iowa – just a hunch!

    Who here would’ve ever thought that one day this country would have a Sudanese gang problem in Iowa and Nebraska?

  • Anonymous

    In typical fashion, these articles casually omit key details, off-handedly telling us, “of Sudanese refugees who relocated to the Midwest, in search of a better, safer life.”

    They could not have gotten to the United States without massive financial and logistical gifts. Dirt-poor, displaced Africans have no means to apply as immigrants and buy their own transcontinental airfare. They can’t even afford their next meal.

    They didn’t “relocate” in the sense that we use the word. The real story is how they got here, and of the white enablers and their finances plucking these foreign races out of their homelands and escorting them into the American heartland.

  • ice

    “Sudanese street gangs that began forming around 2003 are responsible for the most serious violence, according to Bruce Ferrell, a former gang unit detective with the Omaha Police Department.”

    To these seditionists who are responsible for bringing these types into this country, because they perceive some benefit to fractionalizing the population and watering down white percentages, let me tell you here and now: The hard right is cheering what you do, because you are infecting a mostly white portion of the country that is unaware of the mayhem and violence blacks cause to a society.

    Your scheme will backfire, because you’re giving these white populations reason to want to rid themselves of blacks, which is not a good thing for blacks as we are continuing to enter a severe economic period of financial chaos.

  • Jim

    Ah, yes, their “complex needs.” These “complex needs” will no doubt be impossible to meet regardless of the amount of money and resources devoted to them. Given our history of “structual racism,” would you expect a different outcome? Their “complex needs” will take many decades to meet, but only if they are sufficiently “empowered” along the way. It’s all so very, very “complex.”

  • Anonymous

    I about fell out of my chair when I read this line:

    “One critical problem for the Sudanese community was a lack of preparation by the city’s public schools for the complex needs of refugee families, said Susan Mayberger…”

    So these ‘kids’ became thugs BECAUSE whitey didn’t ‘support’ them enough in the public schools. What does that mean? Really? What does it mean?

    So if ‘refugee’ families need so much ‘support’ (money from joe blow taxpayer) then should we really be importing millions of ill-prepared and traumatized people into this country, and plopping them down in small white towns all across the heartland where they can prey upon defenseless victims at will?

  • Anonymous

    Sudanese gangs–in Omaha. God help us!

  • Madison Grant

    Yes, it’s the fault of the public schools that these Africans are violent thugs. Of course!

    You see, the schools had “a lack of preparation”. Had they been better prepared they could have magically transformed the Sudanese into law-abiding citizens!

  • Rhialto

    The critical problem is bringing the Sudenees into the U.S. I am not a knee jerk opponent of foreign aid. I might support helping Africans in Africa, with schooling, birth control, and protected areas. Bringing these Africans into America as immigrants proves to me that “the inmates are running the asylum*”.

    *Pun intended.

  • Anonymous

    The agency described African Pride, which began in Omaha but has spread to Lincoln and other Midwest cities with Sudanese refugee populations, as the “most aggressive and dangerous” of the gangs.

    “African Pride?” How about “Youth Pride!” We do not want to be racist here and suggest that these crimes are being committed by any one ethnicity, now do we? No, these gangs must be made up of every ethnicity in equal proportions…right?

    One critical problem for the Sudanese community was a lack of preparation by the city’s public schools for the complex needs of refugee families, said Susan Mayberger, coordinator for migrant and refugee programming for Omaha Public Schools.

    Why on Earth does an Omaha school need a coordinator for migrant and refugee programming? And why should American taxpayers be burdened with such obligations? Not to mention the endangerment of schoolchildren by importing what amounts to guerrillas into the heartland of America? It’s one thing if the refugees played it by the rules, but once again we see Americans must accommodate third worlders.

    Here’s a thought: why not move all these refugees to school systems in liberal communities. I am sure the Kennedy clan would just love to have their children sharing classrooms with them.

  • Anonymous

    complex needs? are you kidding! these people are coming from 20,000 years ago. a more likely explanation is that society is not equipped to deal with their sociopath nature

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever wondered why there have never been any street gangs made up of Swedish immigrants to America?

  • shaunantijihad

    “I can never imagine that I would end up losing my son on the streets of the United States…”

    If the “streets of the United States” are made up of Somalians, how does it differ from Somalia? The weather perhaps. And if the USA did differ from Somalia, it must be in it’s relative lack of Somalians. In other words, you fled to live amongst the European Caucasians – Whites – who built the US and made it a beautiful place to live, but by your very presence you helped changed the US into an enclave of Somalia.

    Time to cut the bull. I want to live in Caucasia, with Caucasians. Only Somalians of Caucasian descent welcome. Oh, there aren’t any. Tough. Go build your own country. Or ruin it. Your responsibility, not mine.

  • Rocky Mountain

    I admit from the start that I have somewhat of a soft spot for these people because of what they have been through and we know from copious documentation and eyewitness accounts that it was (and probably still is) pretty horrific.

    Having said that, I favor immediate deportation of all gang members in this group even if they were born in this country. Of course, that is legally impossible. The fact is that continued attempts to integrate or assimilate them have and will fail and we’ll pick up the pieces and the cost. I would welcome (with maybe a bit of skepticism)people actually fleeing from genocide or the imminent danger of political/social death and extreme privation. But there has to be some conditions with this acceptance; i.e. behave yourself and make your children behave! I have lived in the Middle East and Europe and there’s no way I would start acting up in a host country and then expect anything lesss then the full force of that country’s laws.

  • Anonymous

    There is no part of this country that isn’t negatively impacted by diversity today. Maybe more whites will wake up and fight back to this invasion.

  • Legal Eagle

    Omaha? Lincoln? Des Moines? The biological warfare on White settlements continues unabated. Can someone please tell me how these illiterate Africans “found” these cities in their “search for a better life”? #rhetorical

  • Jeddermann.

    Evidently Omaha has for a long time had a problem with organized crime and street gangs. I would not have thought that to be the case but it is so? The Mafia has a strong presence and has had that presence for a long time. The transient population is one reason why along with the working class nature of the area? I just cannot say with certainty.

  • Anonymous

    quote:

    One critical problem for the Sudanese community was a lack of preparation by the city’s public schools for the complex needs of refugee families, said Susan Mayberger, coordinator for migrant and refugee programming for Omaha Public Schools. The school district has taken steps to address the problem by adding programs that encourage parental involvement, she said.

    Susan Mayberger, seems it is almost some woman spouting foolishness.

    Complex needs, my foot. They needed a school with a dirtfloor maybe? And they were overextended with the demands of the free lunch? Females like her make me want to spit out. Sit down, shut up and pay attention.

    And what business do 19 year olds have drinking beer in the morning on a Saturday in an empty lot? I guess that is what makes blacks so great.

  • Anonymous

    Do people know what organisations have been supporting the resettlement of Sudanese and other Africans to Europe and America? One simple answer: the good people of Christian churches. Make your own research and I garantie you’ll be shocked!

  • Question Diversity

    15 Rocky Mountain wrote:

    I admit from the start that I have somewhat of a soft spot for these people because of what they have been through and we know from copious documentation and eyewitness accounts that it was (and probably still is) pretty horrific.

    How humanitarian of you. Has it ever occurred to you that Somalians are responsible for what Somalians “have been through?” Geography won’t change that — Most of what Somalians did to themselves in Somalia, they will keep on doing to themselves (and now to us) in America.

    You say you want the “immediate deportation of gang members.” Sounds all nice and clever. Problem is, whenever the formal legal system starts getting involved in “gang” classification and membership, it always runs into substantive due process problems. Legislators were falling all over themselves to pass “gang” crime legislation, or enhanced penalties for crimes committed by gang bangers or gang-motivated crimes. And those laws almost always got struck down in the courts, because the concept of a “gang” among blacks, and to a lesser extent, Hispanics, is volatile and somewhat ephemeral. Do black gangs have a central home office, issue membership contracts and print out membership cards? Plainly not, and that’s where gang legislation doesn’t pass Constitutional muster. While there are obvious gang bangers, whose status could easily be proven in law, and there are obvious non-gang bangers, there is a huge gray area between the “black” of gang and the “white” of not gang. If young black men in the gray area wind up getting popped for a violent crime, then it would be hard to enhance his punishment with gang riders because his involvement in the gang wasn’t really clear. Even with the hard core known bangers, you could convince 12 of 12 jurors that he was in the gang, but because the Crips, Bloods, Gangster Disciples, African Pride, etc., don’t print membership cards, even the most credible testimony of police detectives and informants won’t always convince a jury unanimously that he’s gang.

  • MAJ

    #20

    Note:

    Church World Services (CWS) is the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican communions in the United States. Working in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries, CWS works worldwide to meet human needs and foster self-reliance for all whose way is hard. [From Dept HHS – Office of Refugee Resettlement]

    From CWS Website:

    The Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service (CWS/IRP) is an ecumenical family empowering churches to show hospitality to strangers, that is, to immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other uprooted people in the United States and around the world.

    The work begins overseas. Through its Resettlement Support Center in Nairobi, Kenya, CWS prepares casefiles for U.S. Refugee Admissions Program candidates in sub-Saharan Africa, and helps those whom the U.S. government approves for resettlement with departure arrangements. Then CWS is one of the U.S. voluntary agencies that helps newly arrived refugees become self sufficient in this country. CWS, participating denominations and a network of local affiliates resettle about 8,000 refugees and entrants in the United States each year. Most affiliates also provide immigration legal services to immigrants and refugees.

    CWS network resettles 5,322 refugees in FY 2011

  • Julie

    #20

    If you want to research the whole refugee problem try out this website: http://www.refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com.

  • Anonymous

    Reply to # 20:

    The Lutheran church is easily the biggest offender by far.

  • Anonymous

    The obama administration has numerous conditions written into the health care bill about money only going to hospitals and med schools if they have enough blacks (or anyone but whites). Same is now happening with school money (K-12) and university money. How long before block grants to states will not be allowed unhless the states welcome a percentage of blacks and third worlders? And to make it worse (and go along with agenda 21), betcha the new citizens will have to be relocated in rural, white areas. They are determined to break up white areas; their hatred for “rednecks” (the last acceptable prejudice) is unending.

  • on the lam from the Thought Police

    Everywhere those people go they take with them the savagery of the African jungle. Two hundred years later that savagery is still there. These people have some catching up to do. They need several thousands of more years of evolution before they are fit to live in civilization.

  • Alexandra

    “Complex needs”? What’s so complex about “I want that, give it to me now, I am ENTITLED to what I want!”

  • Anonymous

    When I was nineteen my idea of a good time was to go to Washington, DC’s Chinatown or Georgetown with a date or a few friends to a restaurant. No alcohol was consumed. No one was shot.