Khartoum: Sudan’s sudden slide into conflict between the army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group has stranded thousands of foreigners, including diplomats and aid workers, and countries are working to evacuate their nationals.
Several evacuation efforts appear to be via Port Sudan on the Red Sea, which is directly located about 650 km northeast of Khartoum, but is about 800 km by road.
This is the status of some evacuations:
THE UNITED STATES
US special forces evacuated all US government personnel and their dependents, along with a few diplomats from other countries, from the embassy on Saturday using helicopters that flew from a base in Djibouti and refuelled in Ethiopia. They were not fired on during the evacuation.
The embassy has suspended operations due to security risks but local staff remain to support it.
Washington does not plan to coordinate an evacuation of other US citizens in Sudan but is looking at options to help them leave.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that British armed forces had staged a “complex and rapid evacuation” of all diplomatic staff and their families from Sudan.
He said the government was pursuing every avenue to end the bloodshed and ensure the safety of British nationals still in the country. The Foreign Office urged nationals to shelter in place and let it know where they were.
Britain’s defence minister said British troops undertook the rescue operation alongside the United States, France, and other unnamed allies.
France’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it was evacuating its diplomats and citizens.
However, the warring army and RSF each accused the other of attacking a French convoy. The army said the RSF had fired on the convoy, wounding a French national.
The RSF said it had been attacked by aircraft during the evacuation, leading to a French national being wounded, and it had returned the convoy to its starting point.
France’s Foreign Ministry has not commented on the reported attack or injury.
Moscow’s ambassador in Khartoum told Russian state media that 140 out of roughly 300 Russians in Sudan had said they wanted to leave. Evacuation plans were made but were still impossible to implement because they involve crossing frontlines, the ambassador said. He added there were about 15 people, including a woman and child, stuck in a Russian Orthodox church close to heavy fighting in Khartoum.
Egypt said it had started evacuating citizens from Port Sudan and Wadi Halfa, in the north. It earlier urged nationals in Khartoum to shelter at home until the situation improved.
It said there needed to be a “meticulous, safe and organised” evacuation process for its 10,000 nationals in neighbouring Sudan to reach home.
It said one of its diplomats had been wounded by gunfire, without giving details.
SAUDI ARABIA AND GULF STATES
Saudi Arabia on Saturday pulled 91 Saudis and about 66 people from other countries out from Port Sudan by naval ship to Jeddah, across the Red Sea.
Kuwait said all citizens wishing to return home had arrived in Jeddah.
Qatar thanked Saudi Arabia for helping evacuate Qatari citizens. Separately, Sudan’s army accused the RSF of attacking and looting a Qatari embassy convoy heading to Port Sudan.
Neither the RSF nor Qatar have commented on that and it was not clear if it was the same group that left for Saudi Arabia.
Italy said its nationals would be taken out of Sudan on Sunday night along with some people from Switzerland, Vatican City and other European countries.
Italy’s foreign minister said some 140 Italians would be evacuated from Sudan, plus around 60 people for other countries.
Jordan said it had sent four military planes to evacuate about 260 nationals. On Saturday it said it was evacuating from Port Sudan.
Libya’s embassy in Khartoum said 83 Libyans including diplomats and their families, students and airline and bank employees had reached Port Sudan for onward travel home.
India said it had sent a naval ship to Port Sudan and two military planes to Jeddah as part of its preparations and was telling citizens to avoid unnecessary risks.
Tunisia said it would start evacuating citizens on Monday. Its embassy in Khartoum told them to try to gather at a hotel in the capital.
The German military has started an evacuation operation for its citizens from Sudan, a spokesperson for the defence ministry said without giving details.
South Korea said on Friday it was sending a military aircraft to evacuate its 25 citizens in Sudan.
Canada said it was suspending operations in Sudan and Canadian diplomats would temporarily work from a safe location outside the country, without commenting on evacuation efforts.
Ghana said its embassy in Cairo was working to coordinate the evacuation of nationals into Ethiopia.
Kenya’s foreign ministry was setting up a committee to facilitate the evacuation of its citizens, it said.
Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland each said they were involved in efforts to evacuate citizens.