U.S. moving troops for possible security actions in South Sudan

BY Associated Press  December 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM EDT

South Sudanese take shelter on Sunday at a camp for displaced people set up by the U.N. Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images.

WASHINGTON — Defense officials say the U.S. is moving additional Marines and aircraft from Spain to the Horn of Africa to provide embassy security and help with evacuations from violence-wracked South Sudan.

Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, says the commander in Africa is getting the forces ready for any request that may come from the U.S. State Department. A defense official says the extra forces moving to Djibouti will bring the total U.S. troops there to 150, with 10 aircraft, including Osprey helicopters and C-130 transport planes. The official was not authorized to speak publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Troops deployed last week helped evacuate Americans and other foreign nationals and provided security at the U.S. Embassy in Juba. Another couple hundred Americans remain in the country.

By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press