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US moves Marines to Africa as South Sudan violence rages

Published on Dec 24, 2013 6:34 AM
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WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States (US) military on Monday deployed about 150 Marines to a base in the Horn of Africa to prepare for possible further evacuations of American citizens from the deepening conflict in South Sudan, US officials said on Monday.

The deployment of a special crisis-response team of Marines, who are normally stationed at Moron Air Base in Spain, follows a thwarted evacuation attempt in South Sudan over the weekend in which four US soldiers were wounded by gunfire.

Three US officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the Marines were sent to a base in Djibouti, a move that would allow them to deploy to South Sudan more quickly, if asked.

Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said earlier in the day that the US repositioning of troops would allow for possible "evacuations and the security associated with an evacuation", should the State Department make such a request.

Men carrying boxes walk past United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) personnel who are guarding people displaced by recent fighting, in Jabel, on the outskirts of capital Juba on Dec 23, 2013. The United States (US) military on Monday deployed about 150 Marines to a base in the Horn of Africa to prepare for possible further evacuations of American citizens from the deepening conflict in South Sudan, US officials said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
 
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