Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Foreign states begin Sudan evacuations as fighting rages

(Al Jazeera Media Network) Some foreign nationals have begun evacuating from Sudan as the fighting that has engulfed the vast African nation enters its second week.

The onslaught of urban warfare has trapped large numbers in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The airport has been repeatedly targeted, and many residents have been unable to leave their homes or get out of the city to safer areas.

The United Nations and foreign states have urged rival military leaders to honour declared ceasefires that have mostly been ignored, and to open safe passage for fleeing civilians and for the supply of badly needed aid.

With the airport closed and skies unsafe, thousands of foreigners – including embassy staff, aid workers, and students in Khartoum and elsewhere in Africa’s third largest country – have also been unable to get out.

The Sudanese army said on Saturday that it would facilitate the evacuation of American, British, Chinese, and French citizens and diplomats from Sudan, while Saudi Arabia and Jordan were already evacuating via Port Sudan on the Red Sea. It said airports in Khartoum and Darfur’s biggest city Nyala were problematic.

By late Saturday afternoon, Saudi Arabia said it had evacuated 157 Saudis and people of other nationalities, broadcasting footage of people on a naval ship. Kuwait said some of its citizens had arrived in Jeddah. Jordan said it had started evacuating 300 citizens.

In a security alert, the U.S. embassy in Sudan said it had “incomplete information about significant convoys departing Khartoum traveling toward Port Sudan,” and that the situation remained dangerous. “Traveling in any convoy is at your own risk,” it said.

With the U.S. focused on evacuating diplomats first, the Pentagon said it was moving additional troops and equipment to a naval base in the tiny Gulf of Aden nation of Djibouti to prepare for the effort.

Al-Burhan told the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya satellite channel on Saturday that flights in and out of Khartoum remained risky because of the ongoing clashes. He claimed that the military had regained control over all the other airports in the country, except for one in the southwestern city of Nyala.



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