(Refiles with new slug for media wires.)
WASHINGTON Dec 22 U.S. citizens were safely
evacuated on Sunday from Bor to Juba in South Sudan, the State
Department said as fears grew of an all-out ethnic civil war in
the landlocked African country.
"This morning, the United States - in coordination with the
United Nations and in consultation with the South Sudanese
government - safely evacuated American citizens from Bor, South
Sudan. U.S. citizens and citizens from our partner nations were
flown from Bor to Juba on U.N. and U.S. civilian helicopters,"
the State Department said in a statement.
It did not specify how many Americans were transported to
Juba, a day after three U.S. aircraft came under fire from
unidentified forces while attempting an evacuation.
"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,"
President Barack Obama said in a letter to leaders in the U.S.
House of Representatives and the Senate.
Overall about 380 U.S. officials and private citizens have
been evacuated away from the fighting in South Sudan, the State
Department said. It said it also flew about 300 citizens of
other countries to Nairobi and other locations outside South
Sudan on four chartered flights and five military aircraft.
"The U.S. government is doing everything possible to ensure
the safety and security of United States citizens in South
Sudan," said the statement by Jen Psaki, the State Department's
It said the United States and the United Nations had taken
steps to ensure fighting factions were aware that the evacuation
flights were on a humanitarian mission.
Obama said in his letter to leaders in Congress that
"approximately 46 additional U.S. military personnel" were
deployed by aircraft on Saturday to evacuate Americans from the
conflict. After the aircraft came under fire as they approached
Bor on Saturday, the operation was curtailed "due to security
considerations," Obama said.
The U.S. military said four of its members were wounded in
The United Nations says hundreds of people have been killed
in the latest conflict in South Sudan.
(Reporting By Susan Cornwell, Ros Krasny; Editing by Doina
Chiacu and Christopher Wilson)