South Sudan Fighting: US Marines, Aircraft Moved Into Place

Thursday, 26 Dec 2013 06:46 AM

By Newsmax Wires

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The U.S. is moving additional Marines and aircraft from Spain to the Horn of Africa to provide embassy security and help with evacuations from violence-wracked South Sudan. Four Americans already have been wounded in the fighting there.

Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the commander in Africa is getting the forces ready for any request that may come from the U.S. State Department.

A defense official said the extra forces moving to Djibouti will bring the total U.S. troops in the region to 150, with 10 aircraft, including Osprey helicopters and C-130 transport planes. Of those forces, about 45 U.S. Army troops are in South Sudan providing security. The remainder are in Djibouti, where the U.S. maintains its only permanent military base in Africa.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

The official was not authorized to speak publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity, according to The Associated Press.

Troops deployed last week helped evacuate Americans and other foreign nationals and provided security at the U.S. Embassy in Juba. Another couple hundred Americans remain in the country, the official said.

Three of the four U.S. troops injured Saturday when gunfire hit evacuation aircraft are stable and being sent to the military hospital in Germany, Warren said, while the fourth continues to get treatment in Nairobi, in neighboring Kenya. All were wounded in the lower body by small arms fire.

Meanwhile, African leaders arrived in South Sudan on Thursday to try to mediate between the country's president and the political rivals he accuses of attempting a coup that the government insists sparked violence threatening to destroy the world's newest country.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will meet with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir later on Thursday, said Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth.

World leaders have urged the country's leaders to stop the violence in which thousands are feared killed. The United States, Norway and Ethiopia are leading efforts to open peace talks between Kiir and his political rivals. Kiir said in a Christmas address that he is willing to "dialogue" with all his opponents.

The United Nations is investigating reports of mass killings since violence began spreading across South Sudan after a fight among the presidential guards on Dec. 15, pitting soldiers from Kiir's Dinka ethnic group against those from the Nuer ethnic group of former Vice President Riek Machar. South Sudan's top U.N. humanitarian official, Toby Lanzer, said on Monday that he believes the death toll has surpassed 1,000.

Leuth, the information minister, said the government has not yet established formal contact with Machar, who has been accused of leading what the government insists was a failed coup plot. Machar, he said, was expected to first renounce rebellion.

"For us, we are not talking with him," Leuth said, referring to Machar, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

Government troops are trying to retake control of Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity state, from forces loyal to Machar. There was also reported fighting overnight in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, according to Lueth. Upper Nile and Unity comprise the country's key oil-producing region, raising fears unrest there could cut off the country's economic lifeblood.

South Sudan gets nearly 99 percent of its government budget from oil revenues.

"We are moving toward them and we will flush them out like we did in Bor,"Leuth said, referring to the capital of Jonglei state that government troops retook from renegade forces earlier in the week.

Although the capital, Juba, is now calm, fighting appears to be spreading across the country, stretching the limits of humanitarian workers and aid agencies. The U.N. humanitarian office said aid agencies need $166 million to save lives amid continuing violence.

"The resources will be used to provide clean water and sanitation, health care, shelter, and deliver food and livelihood assistance," the office said in a statement. "It will also ensure that the rights of vulnerable people, including survivors of violence, are better protected. The money will be used to manage sites for displaced people and transport aid workers and supplies to strategic locations where communities are most at risk."

Some 58,000 people have taken refuge in and around U.N. bases in the country and more than 92,000 have fled their homes as a result of fighting that has raised fears of a civil war in the country, according to the United Nations.

The U.N. Security Council last week voted unanimously to beef up its peacekeeping force in South Sudan. It condemned targeted violence against civilians and ethnic communities and called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities and the immediate opening of a dialogue."

South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan in 2011 following a 2005 peace deal. Before that, the south fought decades of war with Sudan. The country, one of the world's least developed, still has pockets of rebel resistance and sees cyclical, tribal clashes that result in hundreds of deaths.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
 
 
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved