US forces have been sent to Djibouti to prepare for a possible evacuation from war torn Sudan.
The additional personnel and capabilities are being sent to Djibouti where 5,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed at Camp Lemonnier, the large U.S. military base that is the hub for U.S. military operations in the Horn of Africa, the Pentagon has announced.
Fierce fighting between the Sudanese Army and a paramilitary force has raged in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum since the past weekend, raising security concerns for civilians from other countries who have been trapped by the fighting.
More than 330 people have been killed in the fighting. There are an estimated 16,000 American citizens in Sudan, the Pentagon said.
“The Department of Defense, through U.S. Africa Command, is monitoring the situation in Sudan and conducting prudent planning for various contingencies,” said Lt. Col. Phil Ventura, a Defense Department spokesman.
“As part of this, we are deploying additional capabilities nearby in the region for contingency purposes related to securing and potentially facilitating the departure of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan, if circumstances require it,” said Ventura. As a matter of policy and security, we do not speculate on potential future operation.
“He authorized the military to move forward with prepositioning forces and to develop options in case, and I want to stress right now, in case there’s a need for an evacuation,” John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications told reporters at a White House briefing.
“We want to make sure that we’ve got the capability ready in case it’s needed,” said Kirby who stressed that no decision had been made yet to evacuate American diplomats or citizens. He urged both sides to stop the violence and allow for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to be distributed to address shortages of food and medicine.