Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. Embassy in South Sudan on Tuesday suspended normal operations and advised Americans in the country to leave as ethnic fighting following a failed coup killed hundreds of people.
The State Department, meanwhile, warned Americans against traveling to South Sudan, ordered non-emergency staff at the embassy to leave and advised citizens staying in the country to reconsider their plans to remain.
The situation in South Sudan have gotten worse and the Obama administration called on clashing parties to settle their differences peacefully, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.
Security forces reportedly fought an army faction loyal to ousted former vice president, Riek Machar in Juba on Monday leading to the deaths of 400 to 500 people and wounding of 800 others, the United Nations claimed. The figure is unconfirmed.
Some 20,000 people also fled and took shelter in a U.N. compound. At least 66 soldiers have been killed in two days of fighting in the capital, according to a military hospital doctor.
President Salva Kiir accused Machar of launching the coup Sunday and he ordered troops to quell the rebellion. Ten senior former government officials suspected of being behind the coup, including six cabinet ministers, were arrested, said Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth.
South Sudan, formerly part of Sudan, obtained independence in 2011 but its young government is struggling for stability.