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Americans Evacuate South Sudan Town as Fighting Continues

  • VOA News

A U.S. army soldier stands guard by an aircraft as American nationals await evacuation from, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 21, 2013.
The United States says it has safely evacuated its citizens from South Sudan's rebel-held town of Bor, as fighting between rebels and pro-government forces continues.

State Department officials say U.S. citizens and others from its "partner nations" were flown from Bor to the capital, Juba, on U.N. and U.S. civilian helicopters early Sunday. A day earlier, the U.S. military said four U.S. service personnel were injured after unidentified gunmen shot at U.S. aircraft attempting a similar operation.

In a letter to Congress, President Barack Obama said that he has deployed approximately 46 additional U.S. military personnel to the area of Bor to assist with operations to evacuate U.S. citizens and personnel. He indicated that he may take further action to support the security of U.S. citizens, personnel, and property, including the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan.

Obama was updated Sunday morning on the situation in South Sudan, following a meeting by National Security Advisor Susan Rice with senior members of the national security team and U.S. personnel in Juba and elsewhere in the region, a White House official said.

South Sudan's government says rebels overran the town of Bor in Jonglei state - the scene of some of the worst of the recent fighting.

Clashes began last week in Juba after President Salva Kiir, a member of the Dinka ethnic group, accused former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup. The government says more than 500 people have been killed, and the unrest has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

About 35,000 civilians are believed to have fled to U.N. compounds since the unrest began.

South Sudan is the world's newest country, gaining independence from Sudan in 2011.

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