Instability Still Lurks In South Sudan
The US State Department announced it is evacuating more American Embassy staff from strife-torn South Sudan and urged all American citizens to leave the country as well.
According to media reports, the US military evacuated about 20 American citizens as part of the embassy drawdown in Juba.
Currently, about 45 American troops are still in Juba to guard the embassy.
In a press statement, Deputy Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan was the reason for further drawning down US Embassy staffing in Juba.
“We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel.” – Ms. Harf
She highlighted that as a result of the drawdown, the U.S. Embassy in Juba will not be able to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan, and U.S. citizens should leave.
More than 400 American citizens have been evacuated from Juba and other parts of the country.
US Supports Efforts To End South Sudan Violence
Ms. Harf also highlighted that even as the US draws down its personnel, the United States remains deeply and actively committed to supporting regional and international efforts to end the violence, including the vital work of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The US is exploring what more it can do to further strengthen UNMISS and support its efforts to protect civilians.
In addition, the US is working closely with international partners to help meet the humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons and refugees.
US Allocates Additional Funds To Address Humanitarian Crisis
Ms. Harf announced that an additional $49.8 million in assistance is allocated to help address the humanitarian crisis.
She stated that Secretary Kerry and senior U.S. officials have been in touch with President Kiir and have spoken with regional leaders.
The U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) based in Nairobi continues to lead U.S. efforts to support humanitarian operations and meet the needs of the people of South Sudan.
The new assistance brings total US humanitarian assistance to South Sudan to more than $300 million for 2013 and 2014.
Civil War Budding In South Sudan
A series of clashes triggered ethnic violence in the African country. In recent weeks, hundreds have been killed and nearly 200,000 have been displaced.
Last month, the clashes erupted after President Salva Kiir accused former Vice President Riek Machar of attempting a coup. Mr Machar denied the accusation.
Peace negotiations are underway between representatives of Kiir and Machar in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
500 Killed In Recent Violence In Bor
Last month, South Sudan’s military lost control of a key town in the country’s east, to army mutineers.
The army lost Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, to a military faction associated with former Vice President Riek Machar, who denied attempting a coup. Riek Machar claimed it is President Salva Kiir who is inciting ethnic tensions.
Jonglei state has been plagued with ethnic tension between the Nuer and Murle tribes in recent years with recurrent attacks and massacres of civilians.
Reports coming out of the area say the clashes between the country’s army and army mutineers have killed some 500 people, mainly soldiers.