The once-promising prospects of a peaceful transition to civilian rule in Sudan have been dashed as fierce fighting grips the nation. Two rival generals have been fiercely battling for control, leaving civilians as the most vulnerable victims, with dozens dead and hundreds injured.
The conflict has been so intense that foreign citizens and embassy staff have had to be rescued from the country through various evacuation operations, including road, air, and sea routes. The strife has engulfed Khartoum’s main airport, which is currently under the control of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), pitted against the army.
While some of the evacuations have been carried out via Port Sudan on the Red Sea, which is located 850 kilometres (530 miles) from Khartoum, many nations have been stepping up to help take stranded citizens to safety.
As the situation continues to unfold, several countries are working tirelessly to ensure their citizens are out of harm’s way. It’s a race against time to navigate the complex web of conflicts and ensure that civilians are not left stranded in the midst of the chaos.
the United States military dispatched three Chinook helicopters to evacuate American embassy staff from the tumultuous capital of Khartoum on Sunday.
Over 100 US forces were mobilized for the daring rescue mission, which involved airlifting fewer than 100 individuals. The Chinooks flew from Djibouti to Ethiopia, before reaching their destination in Sudan, where they remained on the ground for less than an hour before taking off with the evacuees in tow.
While the rescue operation was successful, it is believed that several thousand US citizens, including those with dual nationality, still remain in Sudan, awaiting their own safe passage out of the country.
French authorities successfully evacuated around 100 individuals of diverse nationalities from Sudan on Sunday, marking the first flight out of the country. Another 100 individuals were scheduled to be evacuated on a second flight Sunday evening.
UK embassy staff and families were swiftly evacuated in a complex operation, as announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak via a tweet on Twitter.
At the break of dawn on Sunday, Ankara initiated the evacuation of its approximate 600 citizens from Khartoum’s two districts and the city of Wad Madani via road.
However, the embassy reported a delay in plans at one of the Khartoum sites due to reported “explosions” near the designated assembly area, which was a mosque.
EU, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Greece
On Sunday, the European Union announced coordinated efforts to evacuate citizens from Sudan, where seven EU member states have missions. The Netherlands evacuated a “handful” of its citizens on a French aircraft, and another group left Khartoum in a UN convoy. Germany also began evacuation efforts after an unsuccessful attempt to transfer 150 Germans on Wednesday. Sweden mobilized around 140 to 150 soldiers to evacuate its diplomats and nationals.
Italy is planning to evacuate around 200 people, including Italians, Swiss, and representatives of the Vatican, through a military operation on Sunday. The Greek Foreign Ministry reported that the first group of evacuees had already left Sudan with the assistance of France. Meanwhile, the Irish government is deploying 12 defence personnel to Djibouti to help evacuate 150 Irish citizens in Sudan.
Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia
Egypt’s foreign ministry reported that 436 citizens were evacuated by land on Sunday, although they had previously stated that over 10,000 Egyptians live in Sudan. A member of Cairo’s diplomatic mission was previously shot, according to the ministry, but no further details were provided. On Wednesday, Egypt’s military evacuated 177 soldiers from Sudan.
Jordanian foreign ministry spokesman Sinan Majali confirmed the evacuation of approximately 300 Jordanian citizens on Saturday, adding that there was “continuous cooperation with the UAE and Saudi Arabia”. The Iraqi embassy staff departed Khartoum on Saturday, and 14 citizens arrived in Port Sudan on Sunday. An Iraqi citizen was killed in Khartoum “due to current events,” according to foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahhaf, who did not provide further details.
Lebanon reported that 60 citizens departed Khartoum by road in advance of their evacuation by sea. The Libyan embassy in Khartoum announced on Friday that 83 Libyans had been evacuated from the capital to Port Sudan. The Tunisian embassy plans to carry out an evacuation operation on Monday to retrieve citizens who remain in the country, after some had already left on Saudi ships.
China, India, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and other foreign countries are also preparing to evacuate their citizens. South Korea and Japan have deployed forces to nearby countries, while India has two air force planes “on standby” in Saudi Arabia and a navy ship docked in Port Sudan, awaiting the green light to evacuate citizens. The Sudanese army is also working to evacuate diplomats from China, and 43 Indonesian citizens are seeking shelter inside the embassy compound in Khartoum.