Lost Boy who made home in Nebraska dies in South Sudan - Omaha.com
Published Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:30 am / Updated at 1:59 pm
Lost Boy who made home in Nebraska dies in South Sudan

Andrew Bith Abui survived many hardships in his 32 years, including the Sudanese violence that made him one of the Lost Boys more than 20 years ago.

As a child, he endured harsh refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. He made his way to Nebraska, where he worked, studied and sought a better life for himself and others.

Abui was gunned down and killed last week during an extended visit to his wife in South Sudan, relatives and friends said.

Andrew Bith Abui

“It's really hard,” said a cousin, Stephen Miajok, who was with Abui in an Ethiopian refugee camp. “I feel a lot of pain.”

That which Abui left behind — the horror of intense civil unrest — ultimately caught up with him anyway.

Miajok said members of the Nuer tribe, who are in armed conflict with members of the Dinka tribe in South Sudan, attacked the community where Abui was staying. Abui was killed in the melee.

Daniel Bior of La Vista said he met Abui when both were in a camp in Kenya. They were in Group 44, a large group of boys.

“When I stayed with him, he was just like my brother,” Bior said. When they were given a chance to study, Bior said, Abui performed near the top of the kids.

But living in those camps was difficult. Peter Kuany of Waterloo, who met Abui in the United States, said the Lost Boys lived without parents in refugee camps that sometimes had too little food and water. Conditions were at times unsanitary.

“It was a very bad life,” Kuany said.

South Sudan won independence in 2011 from Sudan. But recent conflict among South Sudanese leaders has sparked friction between Dinkas and Nuers. Fresh hostility, violence and death have followed.

Miajok and others said Abui lived in Plattsmouth, Neb. He had worked over the past few years at a meat-processing plant in Council Bluffs and at a plastics plant in Omaha.

He lived briefly in Florida, studying and working, but came back to the Omaha area and earned a degree at Metropolitan Community College, his friends said. A Metro spokeswoman said Abui graduated with honors in May with a degree in criminal justice.

Abui ran last year for the chairmanship of a large local group that sends books and supplies back to his community in South Sudan, but narrowly lost.

He married a woman in South Sudan and had been visiting her there since late spring. Miajok said his cousin intended to return to the Omaha area.

Abui liked watching boxing and engaged in a bit of that sport as well, Miajok said. He also enjoyed a form of wrestling that is popular in Sudan.

Mainly, Miajok said, Abui hoped to lift others from the kind of tough life that he escaped. He knew what it was like to struggle.

Miajok said: “He was always there for anyone who needed help.”

Contact the writer: Rick Ruggles

rick.ruggles@owh.com    |   402-444-1123    |  

Rick covers health and medicine. He also occasionally covers cops, breaking news and events around town.

TD Ameritrade says profit up 35 percent in second quarter
EB L Street lane to close
Omaha area may get 1 inch of rain tonight
Some city streets remain closed
Owners of exotic dance bar deny prostitution allegations
More Nebraskans are electing to vote early
Nebraska's U.S. Senate candidates stick to familiar topics at Omaha forum
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
8% of alcohol sellers checked in Omaha area last week sold booze to minors
OPS bus, SUV collide; no students onboard at the time
Waitress who served alcohol to teen before fatal crash gets jail time, probation
Lori Jenkins, charged as accessory in 4 murders, waives speedy trial
Iowa State servers hacked, nearly 30,000 SSNs at risk
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
2nd District House race: After 8 terms, Lee Terry knows how D.C. works — and doesn't
Bellevue man is killed at Minnesota dance hall after South Sudanese basketball tourney
Spring corn planting still sputters in Nebraska, Iowa, other key states
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
U.S. Senate race: State Auditor Mike Foley defends Shane Osborn against ad campaign
Public defender to represent Nikko Jenkins in sentencing
Mid-America Center on track for lower operating loss
Bluffs City Council approves dozens of new numbered street lights
National Law Enforcement Memorial Week set for May
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
The idea that Paul Hogan had studied and then hatched at his mother's table was that older people, rather than moving in with relatives or to an assisted-living center, would much prefer to stay home instead.
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Breaking Brad: Even Chuck Hassebrook's throwing mud!
The Nebraska campaigns have turned so ugly, Democrat Chuck Hassebrook lobbed unfounded accusations at an imaginary opponent.
Breaking Brad: Kraft wiener recall is business opportunity for TD Ameritrade Park
Instead of returning the wieners, TD Ameritrade Park is calling them "cheese dogs" and charging double.
Breaking Brad: Photos with the Easter Bunny are so 2010
In a sign of the times, most kids ran out of patience waiting for a photo with the Easter Bunny at the mall, just snapped a selfie and went home.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »