Foreigner evacuation underway in S. Sudan

Jul 14, 2016, 3:12 AM EDT
U.S. troops in South Sudan
(Source: The U.S. Army/flickr)

Several countries have launched operations for the mass evacuation of their citizens from South Sudan, where tensions remain high despite a two-day ceasefire that follows the killing of more than 300 people over the past five days. Germany, the U.K., Italy, Japan, India and Uganda have been carrying out evacuations with military and chartered planes, as commercial flights have not yet resumed.

South Sudan’s Vice-President Riek Machar, who left Juba with his troops “to avoid further confrontation,” called for an international buffer force to ensure that the ceasefire holds, writes the BBC. Meanwhile, the White House announced on Wednesday that it was deploying 47 troops in South Sudan to protect the U.S. embassy and its staff.

American forces will stay in the country until the security situation normalizes. An additional 130 combat-ready troops have also been stationed in Djibouti to provide backup if necessary, the White House said.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said he was concerned that the fighting might resume in Juba and eventually spread to other parts of the country, notes Al Jazeera. Regional leaders have urged the U.N. to deploy an “intervention brigade” in the capital so as to secure the airport and separate the warring factions.