Central Southern Africa

4 US soldiers injured during an evacuation in South Sudan (Update 2)

US Special Forces boarding (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson
Embarkation of American special forces soldiers based in Djibouti for South Sudan (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson)

(BRUSSELS2) Four American soldiers were injured during a “ evacuation operation of American citizens » from the town of Bor in South Sudan, Africom HQ in Stuttgart (command of American forces in Africa) announced during the day. As the three CV-22 Ospreys approached the city, they were " caught under small arms fire from unknown forces ».

Fire against American helicopters

These did not appear to be firing into the air but were indeed aimed at the devices. The three Ospreys were, in fact, “hit”. And 4 special forces soldiers who were on board the aircraft were apparently seriously injured. The damaged devices were at once « diverted to Entebbe in Angola then the wounded transferred aboard a US Air Force C-17 which transported them to be hospitalized in Kenya. All four are in stable condition » specifies the press release. On Thursday (December 19), a UN camp housing civilians was attacked in Akobo (Jonglei), causing the death of three Indian peacekeepers from the UNMISS (or UNMISS).

African Mission of Good Offices

This violence is condemned by the international community. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, called the President of South Sudan by telephone on the night of Friday to Saturday to put him on the path to reconciliation and protect civilians (read the communicated). The European Union has reacted little for the moment, apart from a press release from the local delegation asking the two parties to engage in dialogue by welcoming the good offices mission of the African Union and the IGAD (the regional organization for Eastern Africa) and to the current president “ to release – as a gesture of goodwill – arrested politicians who were not involved in the fighting” (Download here the press release). The post of EU Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan has been abolished. And the PSDC mission at Juba airport closes its doors.

Vast offensive

Government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir have, in fact, undertaken a vast counter-offensive against the “rebels” of former Vice-President Machar (author of a coup d'état). And civilians and foreign nationals alike are caught in the crossfire in several regions, seeking refuge in international forums. South Sudan, whose independence had been supported by the international community – and mainly the United States and Europe – escaped its neighbors and fell back into the trap that had marked it for years: confrontation, violence and massacres. . In a region that is not lacking in instability – the Central African Republic is very close – this is more than worrying.

380 American “officials” and citizens and approximately 300 citizens

(UPDATE) A State Department spokesperson announced on Sunday (December 22) that a second operation to evacuate nationals – American and foreign – stuck in Bor had succeeded in the morning. UN and American (civilian) helicopters helped repatriate nationals from Bor to Juba. “ The USA – and the United Nations which is responsible for securing Bor airport – took measures to ensure that the various combatants were aware that these flights had a humanitarian mission.” Apparently the first intervention was a little too muscular and military. According to a final report, 380 “officials” and American citizens were thus evacuated as well as approximately 300 citizens of other countries to Nairobi aboard 4 flights chartered by the State Department and 5 military aircraft » specifies Jen Psaki of the State Department. “ Other US citizens were able to leave the country by other routes ". But there are still citizens stuck in parts of the country. “We are working with our allies to contact and evacuate US citizens as quickly and as safely as possible. he assures, adding. " For their safety, we do not communicate the specific evacuation plans that will be taken ". Special forces on the way…

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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