The US Africa Command confirmed this morning that several US servicemembes were injured today while trying to evacuate American citizens form the embattled town of Bor in South Sudan.
In a statement, an AFRICOM official wrote that three CV-22 Ospreys—which are the US Air Force Special Operations variant—“were fired on by small arms fire by unknown forces” while approaching the town. “All three aircraft sustained damage during the engagement. Four service members onboard the aircraft were wounded during the engagement.”
The aircraft were then diverted to Entebbe, Uganda, “where the wounded were transferred onboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 and flown to Nairobi, Kenya for medical treatment.”
All four service members have been treated and are in stable condition.
United Nations officials have said that hundreds have been killed across the country during the recent fighting, and as many as 35,000 civilians are currently taking shelter at UN bases in South Sudan.
On Dec. 19, the White House announced that 45 soldiers from the US Army’s East Africa Response Force had been dispatched to the South Sudanese capital of Juba to help evacuate American citizens and ensure the safety of embassy personnel there.
The 45 combat-ready soldiers are part of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division based in Fort Riley, Kansas. They are currently on a year-long deployment in the Army’s Regionally Aligned Forces program, which marries brigade combat teams with combatant commands around the world to thicken their ranks.
There has been no word if the US personnel injured were form that force, or are Special Operations Forces deployed in the region.