Americans evacuated from South Sudan

The State Department on Wednesday said two groups of Americans have been safely evacuated from South Sudan amid an outbreak of violence.

Non-emergency chief of mission personnel, private U.S. citizens and third country nationals evacuated on three flights, two of which were coordinated by the Pentagon. State provided no details on where they were taken.

“We continue to urge U.S. citizens to depart South Sudan and will work to arrange for additional transportation as necessary to accommodate demand, taking into account security conditions and availability of regular commercial flights,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

Normal operations were shut down at the U.S. embassy in South Sudan’s capital of Juba on Tuesday due to “ongoing political and social unrest.” 

The State Department also issued a travel warning for all U.S. citizens in the region, and advised them to leave the country immediately.

Violence has escalated in South Sudan since Monday, when President Salva Kiir announced an imposed overnight curfew as a consequence for what he deemed a failed coup attempt. Witnesses say heavy machine guns and mortars have been used, according to reports.    

Susan Page, U.S. ambassador to South Sudan, met with President Kiir on Wednesday to discuss the U.S.’s “concern about the continued violence, increasing death toll, and growing humanitarian challenges,” Harf said.

South Sudan's government estimated Wednesday five hundred people have died so far from the violence.