As violent conflict rages on in Sudan, diplomats and nationals from the United Kingdom, United States, France, and China are set to be evacuated by air, according to a statement from the Sudanese army. Army chief Fattah al-Burhan has pledged to facilitate and secure their evacuation “in the coming hours.”
Al-Burhan is currently embroiled in a bitter power struggle with the leader of the rival paramilitary faction, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The ongoing fighting across the country has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people within the past week.
Previous attempts to evacuate foreign nationals were halted due to safety concerns. The army’s statement detailed that British, US, French, and Chinese diplomats and nationals would be evacuated on military transport planes from the capital, Khartoum.
In addition, Saudi Arabia announced plans to evacuate its citizens and nationals of “brotherly” countries. The Saudi Arabian diplomatic mission has already been evacuated by land to the coastal city of Port Sudan and then by air to Saudi Arabia. The Jordanian diplomatic mission is set to be secured next.
Khartoum’s international airport remains closed due to the ongoing violence, leaving foreign embassies, including the UK and US, unable to repatriate their citizens.
Despite both the army and RSF agreeing to a three-day ceasefire in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, starting from Friday, the conflict has entered its second week. Sporadic gunfire and air strikes were reported in the capital on Saturday, despite the truce.
Mariam al-Mahdi, a former foreign minister currently sheltering in Khartoum, told the BBC that the ceasefire was “not taking at all.” She described the dire situation in the city, with a lack of electricity and water, and medical teams being targeted in the fighting. Al-Mahdi also reported: “There are rotting bodies of our youth in the streets.”