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Marine Crisis Team Evacuates American Embassy Staff From South Sudan

Photo credit: USMC

Marines guide U.S. citizens down the flight line in Juba, South Sudan, during an evacuation of personnel from the U.S. Embassy, on Jan. 3, 2014.

The escalating violence in South Sudan has prompted a U.S. Marine crisis response team to evacuate U.S. Embassy staff from the South Sudanese city of Juba on Friday, according to U.S. Africa Command.

The Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CR) element used two KC-130 aircraft to airlift the Americans to Entebbe, Uganda.

The Associated Press reports about 20 Americans were evacuated to Uganda.

The U.S. State Department released a statement Friday in which spokesperson Marie Harf explained the need for the evacuation:

"We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel. As a result of this drawdown, the U.S. Embassy in Juba will not be able to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan...

"We continue to strongly recommend that U.S. citizens in South Sudan depart immediately."

The U.S. is also providing an additional $49.8 million worth of humanitarian assistance for victims of the violence in South Sudan, according to the State Department: 

With this new assistance, the United States has provided more than $300 million in humanitarian assistance in Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 to assist South Sudanese victims of conflict as well as refugees seeking asylum in South Sudan.

Members of the U.S. Army's the East Africa Response Force (EARF) have been charged with providing security to the U.S. Embassy in Juba.

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