US urges citizens to leave South Sudan

2014-01-03 16:12
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP) (Picture: AFP)

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Juba - The US embassy in South Sudan ordered a further pullout of staff Friday and organised an new evacuation flight due to the worsening conflict in the young nation, urging all citizens to leave.

"The Department of State ordered a further drawdown of US embassy personnel from Juba because of the deteriorating security situation," the embassy said in a statement.

"We continue to urge US citizens in South Sudan to depart the country."

It said there would be an evacuation flight on Friday "to the nearest safe haven country", adding that consular services at the embassy end on Saturday.

Thousands of people are feared to have been killed in almost three weeks of fighting, pitting army units loyal to President Salva Kiir against a loose alliance of ethnic militia forces and mutinous army commanders nominally headed by ex-vice president Riek Machar.

The United States has already flown several evacuation flights to South Sudan for its citizens.

One such mission came under fire over the rebel-held town of Bor, wounding four US servicemen.

"Private US citizens will need to arrange their own transport to the airport and should consider personal safety of that travel in doing so," the statement said.

"US citizens who are not able to take advantage of the evacuation flight should review their personal security situation and strongly consider taking advantage of any existing commercial flights."

Several other nations including Britain and regional countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia have also sent in emergency flights to evacuate their citizens.

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