UK & World News

  • 21 December 2013, 21:11

South Sudan: Gunfire Hits US Military Aircraft

At least one US military aircraft has been fired at during an evacuation mission in South Sudan, leaving four personnel injured.

One individual is said to be in a critical condition.

The US military confirmed four people were wounded when the aircraft was hit by gunfire. Earlier reports said two aircraft had come under fire.

South Sudan has blamed the attack on renegade troops.

US President Barack Obama said any effort in South Sudan to seize power through military force will lead America and others to cut off support.

Officials said the aircraft was heading for an evacuation site inBor, the capital of the state ofJonglei and the scene of some of the country's worst violence in the past week.

After being fired at it reportedly turned around and headed to Kampala in Uganda. From there the wounded service personnel were flown to Nairobi, Kenya, for medical treatment.

Fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital Juba between rival army factions last Sunday and has since spread to other regions, claiming at least 500 lives.

Kenya said on Saturday it was sending troops to South Sudan to evacuate some 1,600 citizens. Many are trapped in Bor, which has been taken by rebels.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has "ordered the KDF (Kenya Defence Force) to commence immediate evacuation of the 1,600 Kenyans stranded in South Sudan", a spokesman said in a statement.

"Despite the relative calm in Juba, a number of other South Sudan towns have come under fire," he added, saying that Kenyans "are mainly in the town of Bor".

Others, in the towns of Rumbek, Ayod, and Panyabol "will also be airlifted to safety."

"The president has also ordered the immediate delivery of food, water and medicine to South Sudan (to help) tackle the emergency," the spokesman added.

"The delivery of these emergency supplies started this morning. Kenyan military aircraft are delivering consignments to South Sudan."

Kenya, which hosted the peace talks that ended the 1983-2005 civil war in Sudan, and which paved the way for South Sudan's independence two years ago, is also supporting efforts to end the latest crisis.

On Friday, Uganda deployed troops to South Sudan to boost security and help its people escape safely.

A number of other nations including Britainhave sent in emergency flights to evacuate their citizens.

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