July 17, 2016 (JUBA) - The United States said it is not taking any offensive military actions aimed at destabilizing South Sudan, but is only sending a small contingent to assist its embassy in the country.
- Ex-US president Barack Obama meets with South Sudan president Salva Kiir in New York on 21 September 2011 (Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The move comes barely two weeks after a spate of violence, involving South Sudan’s rival forces in the capital, Juba left hundreds dead before a ceasefire, which has since held, was declared.
“The United States wants to reassure the people and the government of South Sudan that it has no plans to target any government or military leaders or import special military equipment with the goal of destabilizing the nation,” the deputy spokesperson of the US State Department, Mark Toner said in a statement.
"Any suggestion that the United States has done so or will do so is false, baseless, and not in the interest of peace in South Sudan," he added.
Last week, the US President Barack Obama on Friday announced that Washington would deploy up to 200 troops equipped with combat equipment to South Sudan to protect US citizens and the embassy in Juba, with troops to be stationed in Uganda.
The outbreak of fighting has already forced the United Nations to evacuate its non-essential staff from the young nation. The US, Germany, Uganda and Sudan also evacuated its citizens from Juba.
Toner said to help keep its embassy open and help non-emergency workers to depart, the US sent military personnel to Juba on 12 July.
"Citizens of Juba can expect to see a rotation in military personnel during the week of July 18," he further stressed.
"This rotation of troops is to replace not reinforce the number of military personnel. All of the additional troops will return home when the need for additional security no longer exists,” added the official.
Meanwhile, the US government welcomed the 11 July ceasefire in put in place by the SPLA/M-In Government and the SPLM-In Opposition, urging both sides to remain committed to the ceasefire, protect and ensure the welfare of civilians in Juba and other parts of the nation.
South Sudan’s largest single donor of humanitarian assistance, Washington has reportedly donated nearly $1.6 billion to the young nation since the start of conflict in the country in mid-December 2013.