WASHINGTON: The United States said it had safely evacuated Americans from the rebel-held South Sudanese city of Bor on Sunday, one day after a rescue mission had to be aborted.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement that helicopters were used in the successful evacuation, which was conducted in conjunction with the United Nations and the South Sudanese government.
"US citizens and citizens from our partner nations were flown from Bor to Juba on UN and US civilian helicopters," she said.
"The United States and the United Nations, which has the lead for securing Bor airport in South Sudan, took steps to ensure fighting factions were aware these flights were a humanitarian mission."
The announcement came 24 hours after the Pentagon confirmed that three Osprey aircraft had been hit by gunfire when approaching Bor, wounding four US servicemen and forcing the planes to head toward Uganda.
The State Department statement said around 380 US officials and private citizens, plus 300 citizens of other countries had so far been transported to Nairobi and other locations on four chartered flights and five military aircraft.
"Other US citizens may have left through other means. We strongly recommend US. citizens in South Sudan depart immediately," Psaki added.
The United States deployed 45 troops on Wednesday to protect American personnel and assets in South Sudan, amid intensifying fighting between rebels and government forces.
In a letter to Congress, President Barack Obama said the force "will remain in South Sudan until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."