Obama Mulls Steps to Protect U.S. Personnel in South Sudan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2013 – President Barack Obama wrote to Congress today that he’s considering taking additional steps to protect U.S. citizens, personnel, and property in South Sudan.

Yesterday, three CV-22 Osprey aircraft were approaching the town of Bor, South Sudan, when they were fired on by small-arms fire by unknown forces, according to a U.S. Africa Command statement.

All three aircraft sustained damage during the engagement, the statement said, and four U.S. service members onboard the aircraft were wounded during the engagement.

The damaged aircraft diverted to Entebbe, Uganda, where the wounded were transferred onboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 and flown to Nairobi, Kenya, for medical treatment, the Africom statement said.

All four service members were treated and are in stable condition, according to the statement.

The president, who is in Hawaii for his annual vacation, was updated today on the situation in South Sudan, according to a White House official.

The aircraft and U.S. service members that were fired on yesterday in South Sudan were on a mission “to protect U.S. citizens, personnel and property,” Obama wrote in a letter dated today that was forwarded to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

“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,” the president added.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is keeping a close watch on the situation in South Sudan and is reviewing options, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Adm. John Kirby said yesterday in a statement.

Whatever action the Pentagon takes, it will be conducted in coordination with the U.S. State Department, Kirby added.


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