U.S. Troops Sent to South Sudan to Aid Fleeing Americans

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After two years of civil war, the world’s newest country, South Sudan, finally achieved a semblance of stability with the formation of a unity government in April. But last week, over a blood-soaked five-day stretch, its capital city erupted in violence and lawlessness. On Wednesday morning, the U.S. military in Africa announced the deployment of 40 additional troops to its capital, Juba, to bolster security and assist American nationals seeking to leave for safer pastures. Additionally, the U.S. Embassy in Juba is organizing flights for non-essential personnel to flee the city. Germany and Italy have begun similar initiatives.

In recent months, South Sudan has been relatively stable. Two warring factions–one loyal to the president, the other to the dissenting vice president–signed a peace agreement last August. The Transitional Government of National Unity formed this past April. But last week, the streets of South Sudan’s capital turned bloody. The U.N. reports that 36,000 civilians have fled their homes. Hundreds have died. The fighting was ignited by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to Vice President Riek Machar–the same warring sides that ignited the civil war in 2013. The violence is a stark pivot for a country that was seemingly on the path to unity.

A sliver of good news arrived on Wednesday, with Reuters reporting that the vice president, whose forces were ousted by those loyal to the president, fled from Juba. He said he does not intend to reignite the war. South Sudan’s civil war has roots in its independence from Sudan in 2011. A government was cobbled together, with the president a member of the Dinka ethnic group and the vice president a member of the Nuer. So what began as political dissent evolved into a full-throated conflict between warring ethnic groups. An encouraging step toward peace came in April when a unity government formed. But the recent clashes have left the country’s future in doubt.

On July 10, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens traveling to South Sudan. “This instability is exacerbated by intertribal and intercommunal violence, cattle raiding, economic uncertainty, and an increase in violent crime,” the warning read. “Aid workers have been the targets of shootings, ambushes, assaults, harassment and robberies, some resulting in death.” Human rights groups are calling on all sides to allow safe passage for its aid workers, who are reportedly being blocked by government forces from reaching areas that need assistance.

Read more about South Sudan and its struggle for stability
Alec Siegel
Alec Siegel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. When he’s not working at Law Street he’s either cooking a mediocre tofu dish or enjoying a run in the woods. His passions include: gooey chocolate chips, black coffee, mountains, the Animal Kingdom in general, and John Lennon. Baklava is his achilles heel. Contact Alec at



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