NAIROBI, Kenya — Gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that on Saturday became a battleground between the country’s military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded in the attack in the same region where gunfire downed a U.N. helicopter the day before.
The U.S. military aircraft were about to land in Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and scene of some of the nation’s worst violence during the last week, when they were hit. The military said the four wounded troops were in stable condition.
The U.S. military said three CV-22 Ospreys — the kind of aircraft that can fly like a helicopter and plane — were “participating in a mission to evacuate American citizens in Bor.” A South Sudan official said violence against civilians there resulted in bodies “sprinkled all over town.”
“After receiving fire from the ground while approaching the site, the aircraft diverted to an airfield outside the country and aborted the mission,” the statement said. “The injured troops are being treated for their wounds.” It was not known how many U.S. civilians are in Bor.
After the aircraft took incoming fire, they turned around and flew to Entebbe, Uganda. From there, the service members were flown to Nairobi, Kenya aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 for medical treatment, the statement said.