Washington, DC, United States (4E) – United Nations helicopters evacuated some 15 American relief workers and other foreign nationals in the violence-wracked town of Bor in South Sudan Sunday, a day after U.S. military planes were fired on and aborted an airlift.
U.S. civilian helicopters were also used in the transfer of the civilians to the capital Juba organized by the U.N., State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The U.N. is also evacuating its civilian staff in Bor, where its compound was swarmed by about 15,000 civilians seeking protection from fighting army factions of President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Macha. U.N. staffs in Juba were also transferred to neighboring Uganda for safety on Sunday.
Three Osprey helicopters were supposed to evacuate the Americans in Bor on Saturday but were shot at injuring four troops aboard and damaging the aircraft. The rescue operation was aborted and the helicopters flew to Entebbe, Uganda, where the wounded troops were flown to Nairobi, Kenya for treatment.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama informed the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore in a letter Sunday that he might deploy more troops to South Sudan to beef up the 45 soldiers deployed to Juba last week and in light of the incident on Saturday to protect U.S. diplomats, civilians and the embassy.
Obama said an additional 46 members of the U.S. military’s East Africa Response Force were aboard the helicopters sent to Bor on Saturday and they were to protect American civilians in the town.
“As I monitor the situation in South Sudan, I may take further action to support the security of U.S. citizens, personnel, and property, including our Embassy, in South Sudan,” Obama said in the letter.