US Sending Troops to South Sudan
Americans there need more protection, says President Obama
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2013 2:10 PM CST
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, US Army soldiers prepare to load onto a US Air Force C-130 Hercules at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.   (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Tech. Sgt. Micah Theurich)

(Newser) – Washington is getting in deeper: About 150 US troops are heading toward South Sudan today to help secure the US embassy and evacuate more Americans from the war-torn country, military officials said. The troops will likely first travel to Djibouti via Spain, CNN reports. The move follows a letter from President Obama to Congress yesterday saying he would take "further action" to protect US interests in Sudan. The State Department flew out 15 Americans yesterday from the flashpoint town of Bor.

South Sudan officials say that Bentiu, the capital of an important oil-producing state, has been seized by rebels. "Bentiu is not currently in our hands," the government tweeted. "It is in the hands of a commander who has declared support" for former Vice President Riek Machar. An official said that People's Liberation Army troops were headed for Bentiu, as well as Bor, to take control. President Salva Kiir blames the crisis on a power grab by troops committed to Machar, his longtime rival.