Sudan’s sudden slide into conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary on April 15 stranded thousands of foreigners, including diplomats and aid workers.
Several countries have launched operations to evacuate their diplomatic staff and other nationals, and some efforts appear to be via Port Sudan on the Red Sea, which is about 650km (400 miles) northeast of Khartoum but is about 800km (500 miles) away by road.
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Here’s the latest on the evacuations:
Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib told VRT News that 17 Belgian nationals and their immediate family had been evacuated from Sudan.
Lahbib also told VRT News that most of the 20 Belgians remaining in the country had said they did not want to leave.
Canada said it was suspending operations in Sudan, and Canadian diplomats would temporarily work from a safe location outside the country.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has said they are working with “like-minded countries” to help the roughly 1,600 citizens formally registered in Sudan.
Most Chinese nationals have been safely evacuated in groups to neighbouring countries, China’s foreign ministry said.
Cyprus said on Tuesday that it had activated a humanitarian rescue mechanism to let third countries use its facilities to evacuate foreign citizens from Sudan.
French planes carrying people of several nationalities have landed in Djibouti.
The warring army and RSF each accused the other of attacking a French convoy in Khartoum, raising questions on which body the French government was coordinating with.
The army said the RSF fired on the convoy, wounding a French national, while the RSF said it was attacked by aircraft during the evacuation, which wounded a French national, and it had returned the convoy to its starting point.
France’s foreign ministry has not commented on the reported attack or injury.
Paris has also sent a warship to Port Sudan to help pick up evacuees, diplomatic sources told Reuters.
France has evacuated more than 200 nationals from Sudan and more than 500 people in total.
As of Tuesday morning, a German evacuation mission had transported a total of 500 people from more than 30 countries, including Belgian, British, Dutch, Jordanian and US citizens as well as Germans.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that efforts were under way to get the remaining Germans out, but did not say how many were left.
India has begun the evacuation of its roughly 3,000 citizens in Sudan.
An official spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted a picture of an Indian ship carrying 278 passengers from the Port of Sudan.
A day earlier, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had said on Twitter that 5,000 Indians had been moved to the Port of Sudan and were awaiting evacuation by ships and aircraft.
Italian military planes evacuated 83 Italians and 13 others on Monday night. Nineteen Italians had been evacuated over the weekend.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said that some Italian NGOs and missionaries had decided to stay in Sudan.
All Japanese people who wished to leave have been evacuated, according to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Forty-five left on Monday night on a Japanese military flight, and eight others left with the help of France and other groups, he said.
Jordan has safely evacuated 343 nationals from Port Sudan on four transport aircraft.
Kuwait said all citizens wishing to return home had arrived in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
About 100 Dutch nationals have been evacuated from Sudan since Sunday, Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said.
Half left on four Dutch evacuation flights to Jordan, which also carried about 70 people from 14 other countries.
The Netherlands aims to evacuate a total of around 150 Dutch nationals and has supplied the international effort with two military planes, which are also available for other nationalities.
A fourth evacuation operation from #Sudan was carried out last night. In total, around 100 Dutch citizens have now been evacuated, half of them were on Dutch flights. Additionally, over 70 people, from 14 different nationalities, have been taken along on Dutch evacuations. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/WWQq2GS2B8
— Wopke Hoekstra (@WBHoekstra) April 25, 2023
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 involved crossing the front lines, the ambassador said.
He added that there were about 15 people, including a woman and child, stuck in a Russian Orthodox church close to heavy fighting in Khartoum.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russians in Sudan were in close contact with Moscow. “Cooperation and consultations are going on round the clock, and various possibilities are being examined,” he said. “For now, no decision has been taken.”
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that it had evacuated 91 Saudi citizens from Port Sudan to Jeddah, along with 66 nationals from several other “friendly and brotherly countries”.
South Africa said it expected the last 12 of its nationals known to be in Sudan to have left on Tuesday.
A bus carrying 28 South Korean citizens had arrived at the Port Sudan New International Airport for evacuation on military aircraft, South Korea’s presidential office said on Monday.
Spain’s government announced Sunday that it had flown out around 100 people from war-hit Sudan, including 30 Spanish citizens and 70 others from Europe and Latin America.
A foreign ministry statement said a military aircraft had left Khartoum shortly before 11pm (21:00 GMT) bound for Djibouti.
Among the other nationalities flown out were people from Argentina, Colombia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Mexico, Venezuela and Sudan, the statement added.
The Swedish government has agreed to send a unit of up to 400 armed soldiers to support evacuation efforts in Sudan.
The deployment will be coordinated with other countries and will evacuate other foreign nationals as well as Swedes who are trapped in the country.
On Tuesday, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said that all embassy staff working in Sudan had safely arrived in Sweden.
Switzerland has closed its embassy in Khartoum and evacuated staff and their families, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Twitter.
“This was made possible thanks to a collaboration with our partners, in particular France,” the ministry said in a tweet on Sunday evening. It did not say how many people were evacuated.
#Sudan: For security reasons, we are closing our embassy in Khartoum. Our staff and their families have been evacuated & are safe. This was made possible thanks to a collaboration with our partners, in particular France 🇫🇷. Thanks for their support. pic.twitter.com/srO2tt98np
— Swiss MFA (@SwissMFA) April 23, 2023
Ukraine said it had rescued 87 of its citizens – most of them pilots, aircraft technicians and their families – among a total of 138 civilians, including citizens of Georgia and Peru.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said British diplomats had all been evacuated from Sudan on Saturday.
“UK armed forces have completed a complex and rapid evacuation of British diplomats and their families from Sudan, amid a significant escalation in violence and threats to embassy staff,” he wrote on Twitter.
The UK said it would begin a “large-scale” evacuation of its nationals on Tuesday, with priority given to families with children, the elderly and the infirm.
The government estimates that there are about 4,000 UK citizens in Sudan.
US special forces evacuated all US government personnel and their dependents, along with a few diplomats from other countries, from the embassy using helicopters that flew from a base in Djibouti and refuelled in Ethiopia. They were not fired on during the evacuation.
“Today, on my orders, the United States military conducted an operation to extract US government personnel from Khartoum,” President Joe Biden said on Sunday.
He thanked authorities in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia for their assistance in the evacuation mission.
The operation evacuated fewer than 100 people, US officials told reporters. About 100 US troops in three MH-47 helicopters carried out the operation.
The embassy has suspended operations due to security risks, but local staff remain to support it.
Washington said on Monday that several dozen Americans are travelling overland in a United Nations-led convoy to Port Sudan and that dozens more had expressed interest in leaving.