Rescue operations underway to extract foreigners from Sudan

Due to heavy fighting, the main airport in the capital city of Khartoum is controlled by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which is battling with the army, AFP reported.

Some evacuations are taking place from Port Sudan on the Red Sea, an 850 kilometre (530 mile) drive from Khartoum.

Here is an overview of what various nations were doing in efforts to take stranded citizens to safety.

– Saudi Arabia –

Saudi Arabia led the first reported successful evacuation with naval operations picking up more than 150 people including foreign diplomats and officials from Port Sudan on Saturday.

Riyadh announced the “safe arrival” of 91 Saudi citizens and around 66 nationals from 12 other countries — Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philipines, Canada and Burkina Faso.

– United States –

Over the weekend, the US military dispatched three Chinook helicopters to evacuate the American embassy staff in Khartoum. The rescue mission involved over 100 US troops and aimed to extract fewer than 100 individuals. The helicopters travelled from Djibouti to Ethiopia and then landed in Sudan for a brief period of time. It is estimated that there are still several thousand US citizens, including those with dual nationality, who are stranded in the country.

– France –

Around 100 people of multiple nationalities have been evacuated from Sudan on a first French flight out of the country after a “complicated” rescue operation, a French foreign ministry official said on Sunday.

A second flight of another 100 people is expected to leave on Sunday evening, also heading to Djibouti, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

– Britain –

The British army has evacuated UK embassy staff and their families in a “complex and rapid” operation, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a tweet.

– Turkey –

Ankara began operations at dawn on Sunday, taking some of its estimated 600 nationals by road from two Khartoum districts and the southern city of Wad Madani.

But plans were postponed from one site in Khartoum after “explosions” near a mosque designated as the assembly area, the embassy said.

– EU, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Greece –

The European Union said Sunday there were “efforts to coordinate” evacuations. Seven EU members have missions in Sudan.

The Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said a “handful” of Dutch people had been evacuated on a French aircraft, with another group leaving Khartoum by road in a UN convoy.

Together with France, Germany and some other countries, “we have agreed that we will bring each other’s compatriots,” he said.

Germany began evacuating citizens in “an ongoing evacuation operation”, the defence and foreign ministries tweeted on Sunday, following an aborted attempt to transfer 150 Germans on Wednesday.

Sweden’s defence minister told AFP on Sunday “140 to 150” soldiers were mobilised to evacuate diplomats and other Swedish nationals.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Rome was planning to evacuate “about 200 people” including Italians, Swiss and representatives of the Vatican in a military operation on Sunday.

The Greek foreign ministry said the first group of evacuees has “left Sudan with the assistance of France”.

The Irish government is deploying 12 defence personnel to Djibouti to help evacuate 150 citizens in Sudan, a foreign ministry statement said.

– Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia –

Jordanian foreign ministry spokesman Sinan Majali said Saturday that Amman had begun the evacuation of some 300 Jordanian citizens, adding there was “continuous cooperation with the UAE and Saudi Arabia for this purpose”.

Iraqi embassy staff left Khartoum on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahhaf said, while on Sunday, 14 citizens arrived safely at a “secure site” at Port Sudan. An Iraqi was killed in Khartoum “due to current events”, Sahhaf told AFP Sunday, without providing further details.

Lebanon said 60 citizens had also left Khartoum by road and were “safe”, ahead of their planned evacuation by sea.

The Libyan embassy in Khartoum on Friday said it had evacuated 83 Libyans from the capital, taking them to Port Sudan.

The Tunisian embassy has announced an evacuation operation planned for Monday to extract citizens remaining in the country, after some had left aboard Saudi ships.

– China, India, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia –

Other foreign countries preparing evacuations include South Korea and Japan, which have deployed forces to nearby countries.

South Korea and Japan have sent their forces to neighbouring countries as they prepare to evacuate their citizens from Sudan. India has two air force planes on standby in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and a navy ship in Port Sudan, but their evacuation plans would depend on “the security situation”, according to a statement from the foreign ministry.

The Sudanese army has said it is also coordinating efforts to evacuate diplomats from China.

Indonesia said 43 citizens were sheltering inside the embassy compound in Khartoum.


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