Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was suddenly evacuated Wednesday from a U.N. camp in South Sudan after violence and looting broke out during a political demonstration.
Haley, who’s in the middle of a three-country visit in Africa, left the camp as several hundred protesters opposing President Salva Kiir approached, a spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the U.N. told Fox News. The protesters “became upset that [Haley] was not able to meet with them, due to time constraint,” the U.N. told The Associated Press.
Shortly after Haley left the camp, which is meant for homeless and displaced residents, U.N. security guards fired tear gas into the crowd of more than 100 people who looted and destroyed a charity office operating there, an aid worker at the camp said.
Frustration has been growing both inside and outside of South Sudan over the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people, and created Africa’s largest displacement of civilians since the Rwanda genocide in 1994.
“We are disappointed by what we are seeing. This is not what we thought we were investing in,” Haley said in remarks released later by the U.N. “What we thought we were investing in was a free, fair society where people could be safe and South Sudan is the opposite of that.”
Just before Haley left the camp, residents attempted to hand the ambassador a letter with their position on the “current crisis.” The U.N. said a “petition” was delivered before Haley had left.
Haley is the highest-level U.S. government official to visit South Sudan since President Donald Trump took office in January. The ambassador is in Africa to see the involvement of both the U.S. and the U.N. in Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she arrived late Wednesday.
President Kiir appealed for the Trump administration to remain engaged with the country during his meeting with Haley.
The United States is South Sudan's largest donor and was instrumental in the country's creation. Since the country gained independence in 2011, the U.S. has given more than $5 billion for humanitarian and development initiatives, according to the U.S. Embassy.
South Sudan plunged into civil war in late 2013, and the country faces mass displacement, starvation and allegations of government corruption and war crimes. More than 2 million people have fled the country.
Fox News' Ben Evansky and The Associated Press contributed to this report