An U.S. army soldier sits on top of an armored vehicle during the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul, March 25, 2015. (Xinhua/Seongbin Kang)
An U.S. army soldier sits on top of an armored vehicle during the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul, March 25, 2015. (Xinhua/Seongbin Kang)

The U.S. military on Thursday denied allegations that it has deployed troops into the east African country in a bid to unseat President Salva Kiir’s government.

Alexander Laskaris, deputy to the commander for Civil-Military Engagement at the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) said Washington only sent some troops to South Sudan during the 2016 violence to protect American citizens and facilities.

“Right now, we don’t have deployments into South Sudan. The last time there was major unrest, insurrection, in Juba, in July of 2016, in response to the potential need to assist U.S. citizens in distress, we pre-deployed some assets to the region,” Laskaris said via telephonic press briefing held on Wednesday.

“We at AFRICOM have one of our basic underlying missions as the protection of the U.S. diplomatic facilities and the protection of U.S. citizens, both official citizens associated with the U.S. government but also private citizens and we take that very seriously,” he added.

A local newspaper reported last week that the Trump administration had sent troops to the conflict -torn country to spearhead an alleged U.S-led regime change agenda in South Sudan.

The news outlet also alleged that Washington is supporting groups seeking to depose the sitting government through mass protests.

The U.S. was South Sudan’s main financial and diplomatic supporter following the country’s secession from Sudan in 2011, but relations between the two countries went bad after the world’s youngest nation descended into civil war in 2013.

Juba has repeatedly accused Washington of working against Kiir’s government, allegations Washington has denied. Enditem

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