Voices from South Sudan - Can you please keep me alive?
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Juba: As the violence in South Sudan showed no sign of abatement, US President Barack Obama on Monday said that he might consider taking further military action in the strife-ravaged country to ensure the safety of American nationals, property and personnel.
In addition to 45 US troops deployed last week, Obama said that 46 troops more were deployed to reinforce the safety of Americans in South Sudan.
Though Obama is on his annual vacation in Hawaii, he said he was monitoring the situation from there and being briefed by advisors.
“As I monitor the situation in South Sudan, I may take further action to support the security of US citizens, personnel, and property, including our Embassy, in South Sudan,” Obama said in a communique to the Congress.
Obama`s announcement comes after four US personnel, who were evacuating Americans from South Sudan`s Bor, were injured following firing on three US aircraft.
This hit the evacuation 0peration and the US team had to depart from South Sudan leaving the operation midway.
However, latest reports said that the US had evacuated all Americans safely from South Sudan’s rebel-held town of Bor.
The US State Department officials were quoted as saying that besides US citizens people from “partner nations” too, were flown from Bor to the capital, Juba.
In an audio message, which was also posted on her Twitter account, Obama`s National Security Adviser Susan Rice reiterated that all groups must come together to end the conflict.
She also warned that the US will have to withdraw support from South Sudan if the violence continued and groups tried taking power by force.
If groups seek to gain/hold power by force, mass violence, or intimidation, US will be forced to withdraw support for #SouthSudan.
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) December 21, 2013
Meanwhile, fighting continued in South Sudan where the government forces have lost key oil states of Unity and Jonglei to the rebels loyal to ex-Vice President Reik Machar.
Confirming the loss to rebels, the South Sudanese Army spokesman Philip Aguer said that Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity State, was no more in their control.
Unity, is located on the border with Sudan, and a considerable amount of oil which accounts for over 95% of South Sudan`s economy.
The violence that was sparked by the clashes between President Salva Kiir`s Dinka tribe and Reik Machar`s Neur tribe, has gone beyond the military factions and spread to the youths and is hence spiralling out of control, said a top UN official.
Over 40000 people have taken refuge in UN bases in South Sudan and the number is only expected to increase a sthe violence escalates.
The town of Bor is one of those places witnessing the harshest impacts and brutal violence as the government forces are engaged in clashes with rebels in a bid to retake control of key states.
The extent of misery can be estimated from the statement of UN official when he told an international news channel, "It`s really very moving to see people just asking: `Can you please keep me alive?`"
Also, last Thursday a UN base was attacked in which two Indian peacekeepers and at least 11 civilians were killed.
Urging the leaders to resolve the crisis, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday directed them "to do everything in their power" to stop the violence.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after 22 years of civil war with Sudan and has since then been involved in ethnic tensions and strife with South Sudan.
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