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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

This Is How Countries Are Rescuing Their Citizens From Conflict-Hit Sudan

This Is How Countries Are Rescuing Their Citizens From Conflict-Hit Sudan

On Sunday, the US military sent three Chinook helicopters to evacuate American embassy staff from Khartoum. More than 100 US forces took part in the rescue to extract fewer than 100 people.
Battles raging in Sudan have sparked several evacuation operations to rescue foreign citizens or embassy staff by road, air and sea.

The main airport in the capital Khartoum has been the site of heavy fighting and is under the control of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that is battling the army.

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 Sunday 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

On Sunday, the US military sent three Chinook helicopters to evacuate American embassy staff from Khartoum.

More than 100 US forces took part in the rescue to extract fewer than 100 people, which saw the choppers flying from Djibouti to Ethiopia to Sudan, where they stayed on the ground for less than an hour.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he ordered the evacuation of staff and their families due to the "serious and growing security risks" amid fighting that has already left hundreds dead and thousands wounded.

Several thousand US citizens including dual nationals are thought to remain 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 from Sudan, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

"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," Sunak tweeted.

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, Germany, Italy, Greece, Netherlands

The European Union said Friday it was "trying to coordinate an operation to get our civilians out of the city which is now in a high-risk situation". Seven EU members have missions in Sudan.

Germany began evacuating citizens from Sudan in "an ongoing evacuation operation... in coordination with our partners", the defence and foreign ministries tweeted on Sunday, following an aborted attempt to transfer 150 Germans on Wednesday.

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 Dutch Foreign Ministry said it was "participating in an international evacuation operation", with Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra saying teams would "do their utmost to collect Dutch people as quickly and safely as possible".

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the government had ordered to relocate aircraft and troops to Egypt for a potential operation to rescue Greek and Cypriot citizens.

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.

India said it had two air force planes "on standby in Jeddah" in Saudi Arabia and a navy ship had arrived in Port Sudan, but any evacuations "would depend on the security situation", according to a foreign ministry statement.

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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