KHARTOUM (Reuters) – 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 (400 miles) northeast of Khartoum, but is about 800 km (500 miles) by road.
This is the status of some evacuations:
THE UNITED STATES
U.S. special forces evacuated all U.S. 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 U.S. citizens in Sudan but is looking at options to help them leave.
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.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met security chiefs on Saturday to discuss Sudan. A government spokesperson said the Ministry of Defence was working with the Foreign Office “to prepare for a number of contingencies”.
Sudan’s army said on Saturday that it had agreed to help establish safe pathways for evacuations by the U.S., France, Britain and China.
Egypt has urged its citizens outside Khartoum to head to the consulates in Port Sudan and Wadi Halfa, in the north, to prepare for evacuation and urged its 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 KUWAIT
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.
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.
Jordan said it had begun evacuating about 300 of its nationals from Port Sudan on Saturday.
South Korea said on Friday it was sending a military aircraft to evacuate its 25 citizens in Sudan.
Sweden has given the government permission to deploy forces to help evacuate embassy staff and families. The Netherlands also said it was joining efforts to evacuate citizens.
In Djibouti, where several evacuation efforts are being based, planes from Italy, Britain and Canada were awaiting a green light to fly to Khartoum, a source in the African country said.