At least four US service members were wounded today when rebel gunfire hit two US military aircraft responding to the outbreak in violence in South Sudan. The aircraft were heading to Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and scene of some of the nation's worst violence over the last week. One American service member was reported to be in critical condition. Officials said after the two aircraft took incoming fire, they turned around and headed to Kampala, Uganda. From there the service members were flown on to Nairobi, Kenya for medical treatment, the officials said.
The aircraft were there as part of an attempt to evacuate Americans from the area, reports CNN. South Sudan President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, said this week that an attempted coup triggered the violence now pulsing through South Sudan that has left hundreds dead and raised the prospect of a full-blown civil war. He blamed the former vice president, Machar, an ethnic Nuer. But officials have since said a fight between Dinka and Nuer members of the presidential guard triggered the initial violence late Sunday night. Machar's ouster from the country's No. 2 political position earlier this year had stoked ethnic tensions. (Read more South Sudan stories.)