Americans Escape War-Torn South Sudan

Ethnic tensions escalate to violence forcing foreigners to leave the country.
3:00 | 12/23/13

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Transcript for Americans Escape War-Torn South Sudan
This is a special group. And -- company -- -- this ABC news digital special report the world's newest country on the verge of tearing apart. And at least fifteen Americans are caught in the crossfire the country of south Sudan in the midst of another conflict between the government and rebel forces. The United States rescued fifteen Americans from the town of Bora where warring factions had converged and had taken the capital of Juba for more on the status of the Americans in the conflict in south Sudan -- -- ABCs of the markets is standing by the Pentagon. The that would declare what is right up about fifteen Americans evacuated but their could in fact be more correct. There are hundreds -- and and that's because a fifteen -- talking about are the fifteen that the United States knew about in this tile and of board. The evening mainly were for relief agencies there. There are about 400. 380 actually is a number of Americans -- that have been evacuated. By the State Department over the past week that's -- a mixture of civilian contract aircraft and military aircraft. So that's about 380 total in the country have been evacuated. Over the last week plus an additional 300. -- from other third countries that the United States has taken out the concern is that the United States doesn't have a full grasp. Of how many Americans. Remain in south Sudan because basically it's up to them when they get to that country to report their whereabouts to the local embassy. And that's sometimes the only contact the United States has with American citizens in a foreign country. And so right now to try to determine whether. Some of these estimated Americans that are still there many have made their own way out of the country. This country which he said is -- newest country in the world. I'm -- -- in two and a half years of existence is now spiraling out of control. The situation getting so dire where you're actually on your own volition -- getting out of there. That the Americans that are there in the Kaplan Jew what will they be flown out of the country that altogether -- will they be joining those other almost 700. They have been flown out already we were told that there was have a flight came out on Saturday as well about a hundred other Americans that combines a grand total. But we're told that once those Americans -- on United Nations helicopters. The awaiting -- to -- where they made their way out -- and the reason he's Americans were trapped. In war was because -- united states military had sent a rescue mission basically to get them out of a very large United Nations compound in board. Where there about 151000. People who have sought refuge from the fighting there. And so the united states military went in with three. Tilt rotor osprey aircraft -- critical aircraft to fly like planes but can -- light and take off like helicopters so they can get into tight situations. But then he took incoming fire and they had abort the mission and in the process four Navy SEALs who on board those aircraft for injured. One of them seriously and him and Nestle is living in it when serious injury from this four from the aborted mission. That's correct right -- many of the south Sudanese. Also trying to get out at this time right. Yes there are men did this is not just the one United Nations compound -- board that is filling up with thousands of people but also in -- 20000 people. Think the United Nations estimates about 65000 people. At several compounds across the country who have gathered there. Seeking refuge and this is all because you have competing factions within the Sudanese military the government that are fighting for control. Sudan. -- that is a very large countries south -- split off from them. They had day and -- twenty year civil war there with south -- in the south -- area. And about 56 here in the United States helped broker -- peace agreement. That led to south -- becoming an independent nation. And the United States and has invested a billion dollars in trying to. Prop up this government providing infrastructure humanitarian assistance because this is a very poor country. And the United States society demonstrate that this country could actually succeed. But the danger here is that they could become a failed state. The financial aspect is one of the angles there what what -- the aspects of the drive by the US in forming south Sudan. Busy US military have any additional plants -- -- and more forces it's hit a clean south Sudan reform obviously after that referendum vote 2011. While the united signaled her presence -- -- again historically has been nonexistent pretty much but what we are getting today as a result of what's happened. Over this weekend. You that scene a hundred about a 150 US Marines that have been transferred. From a base in Spain to Djibouti Djibouti is on the Horn of Africa it is the closest US military base the south Sudan. That's actually where those ospreys took off from and headed back to when -- took fire but these 150 Marines are there to provide extra flexibility. For the United States should the State's future the United States actually want. To get more Americans out of south Sudan. There's another military team already on the ground about 45 of them. Protecting US embassy they were flown in on one of those relief flights that was intended take American civilians out. So now you have the Marines who have bring along extra aircraft they have the other ospreys of their own. As well as refueling -- so they're able to brings much more capability. To the US military mission in that part of the world. I should -- -- request more help are are are these the same groups that have been fighting is the same groups this time around. Well you would most of the attention in Sudan has focused on Darfur which is up in the northern west part of the country. And you've had ethnic cleansing and genocide has been taking there that took place there for much of the last decade yourself. South Sudan was another part of the country. That has had seen violence as I -- for about twenty years or so. Because they were trying to break away from the larger Sudan. And ethnically they are very different from the rest of the country they RE Christian. Population. Such a parent population unlike much of the -- population in northern -- so did they broke off and but one key thing is that. In the heart of at the heart of the the issue here. Was the oil riches that lay on but basically on the border in south Sudan. So south Sudan lays on top of them rich oil reserves they have the pump that oil out -- -- -- existing pipelines in Sudan. To get to ports in the ritzy. I'm so there's that motivation but. Historically you've you've had this difference between north against south again. Well within -- -- and they also had ethnic difficulties. Those were kind of pushed aside. I'm in -- in the larger effort but now that they have become an independent nation. Those -- difficulties coming back he had basically a power sharing agreement between the president was a member of one ethnic group and a vice president was a member of another. And you have rival factions within the Sudanese military who were supporting. Each of those ethnic actions and that. Pretty much the violence that we're seeing right now you're seeing will fight violence between what is known is that Inca. And the -- and depends on which region of the country in their most nominated and they're taking it out on the other ethnic group. -- -- -- the definition of war obviously can be very difficult to pinpoint depending on the players in any particular. Capacity. But if in fact rebels of taking control some of these key areas. By most accounts that could this become a full fledged war by by by the definition that we generally know it as. Definitely could again and you have trained military force that is now basically fighting each other. What happened in -- -- that you had elements of the military being augmented by local civilians. A very young civilians have for that matter who have surrounded that large human camp that I was talking about. Yeltsin handed the rebel faction if you -- -- -- that. And that hasn't taken Natalie control abort but -- also taking control of the city of that oil region that I was talking about so that is of big concern. Two the government there and -- it and it might actually spur them to quicker action. The United States has sent an envoy. Two south Sudan to China and things that he says that he got a commitment today. From meeting with the president's topic here in the head of -- case again. That he is willing to end the violence and -- Meaning. With his arrival with no preconditions as long as his rival is willing to come to the table. So that's what they're gonna try to stress. Basically a cease fire between these two groups -- take effect in the next -- of a couple of days because the United States really does not want this to become a full fledged war. As civil war of which we could lead could mean to basically -- and -- US humanitarian assistance to his country well -- -- -- we've been talking obviously the US involvement in this but China and India have also invested very heavily in the nation in effect. Could there be other countries or other international move -- -- Mike involved in this. Actually there's as a big in the diplomatic push by -- many countries to prevent a civil war from taking place in south Sudan. You know that we've been talking about the numbers of Americans in the and the hundreds. Well there are thousands of brits and Canadians and other than a third country nationals who are working in south Sudan. Part of that and they work and that oil industry up in the north that I was talking about but others work for relief agencies. That. -- lot of building infrastructure within south Sudan which is a country that doesn't have much didn't have much to begin -- -- So there is -- yes a big international push to prevent an all out civil war part of that -- by the effort to protect. These third country nationals who are working inside south Sudan. A lot of attention being focused right now on south Sudan ABC's -- -- -- at the Pentagon -- thank you about. Of course we have a complete recap break here and and on -- -- New York. With this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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