Jim Michaels, USA Today
WASHINGTON - About 150 Marines were dispatched to the Horn of Africa
from Spain on Monday to be positioned to provide security or evacuate
Americans from violence-racked South Sudan, the U.S. military said.
"It's a precautionary movement," said Benjamin Benson, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command.
move follows an incident Saturday in which three aircraft were hit by
ground fire as they attempted to rescue Americans. The aircraft turned
back, but another effort Sunday was successful in evacuating Americans
from Bor in South Sudan.
The Marines arrived in Djibouti from
their base in Moron, Spain. They are from a force of more than 500
Marines established this year to more quickly respond to crises in
Africa. The special purpose "air-ground task force" is trained to
provide security for U.S. property and evacuate Americans when needed.
They are capable of responding to a crisis within six hours of
Security in South Sudan has been deteriorating for
the past week and hundreds of Americans and other foreigners have been
evacuated in recent days, the State Department has said. The country
plunged into chaos after an attempted coup triggered fighting between
rival ethnic groups.