Tuesday 24 December 2013

US Marines to evacuate Americans from S’Sudan/ PUNCH

PressTV - US Marines prepare to enter South Sudan for evacuation

About 150 US Marines are poised to enter turbulent South Sudan to help evacuate Americans and provide security for the US Embassy, if ordered to do so, two US military officials said Monday.

The troops are moving from Moron, Spain, to the Navy’s Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

An estimated 100 US citizens are believed to be in South Sudan, where steady violence is stoking fears of an all-out civil war in the world’s newest country.

“By positioning these forces forward, we are able to more quickly respond to crisis in the region, if required,” read a statement from US Africa Command.

It cited the example of Benghazi, where an attack last year killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

“One of the lessons learned from the tragic events in Benghazi was that we needed to be better postured, in order to respond to developing or crisis situations, if needed. These precautionary movements will allow us to do just that,” the statement read.

According to a senior administration official, 380 American citizens and about another 300 third-country nationals have been evacuated.

“Based on registration, there are American citizens in other towns and areas throughout South Sudan. We are trying to track down how many may still be there. Many may have gotten out on their own. We are trying to track that down,” the official said.

On Sunday, all Americans who presented themselves at a UN camp in the flashpoint town of Bor were evacuated safely, the State Department said.

A State Department official said about 15 Americans were flown out Sunday. US personnel have been working to confirm that no other US citizens remained in Bor in need of evacuation.

UN civilian staff were moved from a compound in Bor to Juba, the capital, on Saturday, the same day a US mission to airlift Americans out was aborted when the aircraft came under fire.

Four U.S. troops were wounded in the attack in Bor and were to be moved to the US military hospital at Landstuhl, Germany, a senior US official told CNN on Sunday.

One of the injured “went through some pretty serious surgery” after being taken to Nairobi, Kenya, with wounds from gunshots fired at the aircraft. All four have been able to speak to their families.

“The United States and the United Nations, which has the lead for securing Bor airport in South Sudan, took steps to ensure fighting factions were aware these flights were a humanitarian mission,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“The US government is doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of United States citizens in South Sudan. We are working with our allies around the world to connect with and evacuate US citizens as quickly and safely as possible.


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