The Pentagon has dispatched U.S. troops to West Africa to stand by for the possible rescue of American citizens endangered by the civil unrest in Ivory Coast.
Defense officials say some 200 U.S. troops from the military's European Command are involved in the operation.
But after initially telling reporters the soldiers were travelling directly to the Ivory Coast, officials now say only that they are going "to the region" - indicating the Americans will stand by in a neighboring country, apparently Ghana.
Among those trapped in the fighting between government troops and rebel forces in Ivory Coast is a group of more than 100 mostly American youths at a boarding school for the children of missionaries across West Africa.
The school is in the city of Bouake, one of the centers of fighting.
France, the former colonial power in Ivory Coast, already has troops in the country who are poised to assist foreigners in the embattled city.