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Obama keeps eye on tense situation in South Sudan

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 21, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

HONOLULU — President Barack Obama said Saturday that continued violence and militancy in South Sudan may cost the world's newest country the support of the United States and others nations.

He said South Sudan's leaders have a responsibility to help protect Americans, who came under fire hours earlier during an evacuation attempt.

While vacationing in Hawaii, Obama spoke by telephone with national security aides, the White House said. Obama told his team to work with the U.N. to keep evacuating Americans from Bor, where some of South Sudan's worst violence over the last week has played out.

The U.S. has been working to evacuate American citizens and nonemergency government personnel from the African country, and last week shut down most embassy operations in the capital of Juba after what South Sudan's president described as an attempted coup.

On Saturday, gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate Americans in a remote region that has become a battle ground between the country's military and renegade troops, officials said. The three CV-22 Ospreys were about to land in Bor when they were hit and subsequently diverted to Entebbe, Uganda.

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