Barack Obama announced Thursday that he had deployed 45 American military personnel to South Sudan to protect the U.S. embassy and Americans in the country as it teeters toward ethnic civil war.
Violence erupted this week in South Sudan following what appeared to be a weekend coup by the ousted Vice President as ethnic tensions plague the newly independent African nation. The International Crisis Group said South Sudan is “on the cusp of civil war.”
In a White House letter to the leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Obama said that although the troops were “equipped for combat,” they were sent only “for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property.”
“This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests,” the President said.