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US sends forces to Uganda for S. Sudan evacuationsPublish Date: Dec 25, 2013
US sends forces to Uganda for S. Sudan evacuations
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A woman pulls her bag as a group of Kenyans arrive in Nairobi after fleeing fightings in Juba, South Sudan. AFP/PHOTO

The US military on Tuesday deployed a small team of marines to Uganda to prepare for possible further evacuations of Americans from violence-wracked South Sudan, officials said.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said a "platoon-sized" contingent of marines and a C-130 aircraft had been detached from a deployment in Djibouti and sent to Entebbe, Uganda.

"This forward posturing provides the Combatant Commander additional options and the ability to more quickly respond, if required to help protect US personnel and facilities," Warren said in an email.

The deployment was made with the knowledge and cooperation of authorities in Uganda, he added.

On Monday the Pentagon deployed a roughly 150-strong special Marine Corps unit to Djibouti, the site of a major US base, along with cargo planes and helicopters.

The task force, which has a total of 500 troops, is currently stationed at Moron air base in southern Spain.

The military has already sent in a 47-member joint task force to Juba to reinforce security at the US embassy.

About 100 Americans were evacuated on Sunday after a previous attempt on Saturday had to be called off when American aircraft came under fire from the ground, with four troops wounded.

South Sudan has seen an outbreak of violence since December 15 that has left thousands dead according to reports received by the United Nations.

South Sudan declared independence in June 2011 and is still the youngest country in the world, born out of a bloody decades-long struggle for independence from Sudan. AFP


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