US Embassy Juba Closes, Issues Warden Message on Curfew Imposed “Until Further Notice”

—  Domani Spero

The US Embassy in Juba issued a Warden Message for U.S. Citizens in South Sudan about “continuing security concerns in Juba” as well as the new curfew imposed from 6pm to 6am starting December 16th, 2013.  In a televised address reported by CNN, President Salva Kiir announced that South Sudan’s military has quashed an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to Riek Machar, the vice president who was fired in July.

4pm, December 16, 2013 | Continuing Security Concerns in Juba; Curfew Imposed

The U.S. Embassy recognizes that there is a lull in violence in Juba; however, we continue to receive reports of sporadic gunfire in parts of the city, particularly near Juba University. We continue to urge American citizens to exercise caution at this time. If you are in a safe location, the Embassy recommends you remain where you are as travel in Juba is not currently safe. The U.S. Embassy will continue to closely monitor the security environment in South sudan, with particular attention to Juba city and its immediate surroundings, and will advise U.S. citizens further if the security situation changes. We take this opportunity to reaffirm our earlier message that no political or military figures have taken refuge within the U.S. Embassy.

Additionally, all citizens should take note that in response to the violence from this morning and yesterday evening, the government of the Republic of South Sudan has implemented a curfew from 6pm to 6am starting December 16th, 2013 “until further notice.” The airport in Juba is also currently not operational and we continue to receive reports that the Nimule border is closed.  You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the website of the U.S. Embassy in Juba.

A previous announcement, also on December 16 says that  there will be no movement of Embassy personnel until further notice. The U.S. Embassy was also closed, and it temporarily suspended routine American Citizen Services.

US Embassy Juba is on Twitter at @USMissionJuba and on Facebook.  In the last hour, the embassy tweeted that cell phones are down in Juba and that “Vivacell, Zain, and MTN are all offline in #Juba. If you need to reach the Embassy, we are monitoring this Twitter feed 24/7.”  It is responding to inquiries on Twitter.

@MelynMcKay1h@USMissionJuba tips for US citizens in Juba? We have people on the ground in Tong Ping & reports of raiding parties approaching.
@USMissionJuba1h@MelynMcKay shelter in place if possible. If absolutely needed, check with #UNMISS near the airport. Many have found shelter there.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) posted photos of civilians arriving at UNMISS compound adjacent to Juba International Airport to take refuge from fighting that broke out in the South Sudanese capital on the evening of 15 December.

The embassy is a small post operating from a USAID office compound with the chancery made of cinder block construction.  It also operates under waivers for a number of security standards and according to State/OIG report dated May 2013, the “current facility puts embassy employees at risk.”

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