NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 28 – Three US servicemen injured when rebels fired on their aircraft in South Sudan’s Jonglei state have been evacuated from Kenya to Germany for specialised treatment.
Capital FM News learnt that the last of the three injured officers left Nairobi for Germany on Friday after he was stable enough for air evacuation.
The other two US servicemen were flown to Germany earlier in the week.
It’s understood that one of the officers had his leg amputated in Nairobi due to the extent of wounds suffered when their military aircraft came under fire while on a rescue mission to the crisis-ridden South Sudan.
The servicemen were injured when three CV-22 Osprey aircraft came under fire as they headed to Bor to help evacuate Americans from South Sudan.
The CV-22 Ospreys are flown by US Air Force Special Operations forces to conduct rescue missions. They are also used by Marines.
The planes were about to land but the pilots managed to gain altitude and re-routed to Uganda. The wounded were then flown to Nairobi for medical treatment.
The United States, Britain, Kenya and Uganda have been carrying out evacuation missions for their nationals.
Oil companies have also flown out their employees after the death of at least five South Sudanese oil workers, with Chinese state oil company China National Petroleum Corp confirming it was pulling out its staff.
Oil production accounts for more than 95 percent of the country’s fledgling economy.
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, split from Sudan in 2011 after a two decade civil war that left two million people dead. But it has never been able to heal its own ethnic rivalries.
The fighting has both ethnic and political dimensions, as troops loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, battle forces backing his sacked vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer.
Kiir accuses Machar of having tried to mount a coup, but Machar denies that and claims Kiir is conducting a violent purge.
The first UN peacekeeping reinforcements arrived in South Sudan on Friday, where the government is said to have agreed an immediate ceasefire after nearly two weeks of heavy fighting with rebels.
The United Nations warned that tensions remained dangerously high despite efforts to halt a slide into civil war in the world’s youngest nation which is believed to have left thousands dead.
East African leaders acting as peace brokers announced Friday that the government of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir had agreed to a ceasefire.
But the de facto leader of the rebels, Riek Machar would not immediately commit to a truce.
In a satellite telephone interview with the BBC from an undisclosed located, Machar said a mechanism was required to monitor any ceasefire.
“For the ceasefire to be credible there is need for a mechanism, or else we will be deceiving ourselves,” he said.
He also demanded that Kiir release all 11 of his political allies who were arrested right at the beginning of the unrest, while acknowledging that two of them had been freed.
The regional leaders brokering the end to hostilities have given Machar and Kiir four days to hold face-to-face talks and halt fighting, pledging unspecified “further action” if the civil war continued.