Fighting in Sudan: The announcement of the first evacuations of foreigners stranded in Sudan

(CNN) Saudi Arabia became the first country to announce the evacuation of its stranded citizens from Sudan, a week later fierce fighting There broke out between two rival forces.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “a number of citizens of brotherly and friendly countries” had been evacuated, along with Saudi citizens. Kuwaiti nationals are among dozens of people brought to safety, but it is not clear which other nationals were involved.

The announcement came after both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces said they were ready to assist in the evacuation of foreign nationals.

The Sudanese Armed Forces said in a statement on Saturday that its commander, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, “agreed to provide the necessary assistance” to facilitate the safe evacuation of foreign nationals from the country in response to “the calls of a number of heads of the Sudanese Armed Forces.” States.”

“It is expected that the evacuation of all missions whose countries have submitted such a request will begin within the coming hours, as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China will evacuate their diplomats and nationals via military transport planes belonging to their militants. The Sudanese Armed Forces said in a statement it posted on its Facebook page.” It is expected to start immediately.”

According to a list released by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday, 91 of its citizens have been evacuated, along with 66 citizens from 12 other countries including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India and Bulgaria. Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada and Burkina Faso.

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He did not provide an exact breakdown of the number of people evacuated from each of the countries on the list.

Kuwait thanked Saudi Arabia for evacuating its citizens from Sudan to Jeddah, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, Saturday.

But it did not specify the number of Kuwaiti citizens who were evacuated.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry told CNN by phone that there was a “special operation” to evacuate its diplomats from their embassy in the capital, Khartoum.

Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahhaf said the diplomats were taken to a “safe place in Sudan” following the operation, but declined to give further details.

Developments came like the United States Government employees have been evacuated In an operation involving special forces.

the mission Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, said the US Africa Command was led by the US Africa Command, and was conducted in close coordination with the State Department.

fierce battles It broke out in Sudan last Saturday between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The two are former allies, but tensions arose between them over negotiations to integrate the RSF into the country’s military as part of plans to restore civilian rule.

More than 420 people have been killed and 3,700 wounded in the fighting, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and the humanitarian situation on the ground is worsening.

The United Nations says people are increasingly fleeing areas hit by the fighting, including Khartoum. The United Nations says up to 20,000 refugees have arrived in neighboring Chad.

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New clashes between the two groups on Saturday destabilized a three-day ceasefire announced for the Eid holiday.

Clashes were reported in Khartoum on Saturday, with witnesses telling CNN that violent clashes were taking place in the vicinity of the presidential palace and that the sounds of explosions and warplanes were flying overhead.

Smoke fills the sky over Khartoum, Sudan, near Doha International Hospital, on Friday, April 21, 2023.

Dagalo said he spoke with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on Saturday and they discussed “the current situation and the reasons [that] It exacerbated the situation, “and the possibility of opening evacuation corridors.

On Saturday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also chaired an emergency meeting to discuss the situation.

CNN has learned that British evacuation efforts will not happen soon, but a government spokesperson told CNN that they are doing “everything they can” to support British citizens.

An EU spokesperson said that an estimated 1,500 nationals from various EU countries are currently in Sudan.

“They are facing a very difficult situation and their safety is a priority. We urge both sides (SAF and RSF) to stop fighting and allow safe passage out of the country,” the spokesman said. The European Union has been working with member states to find solutions and get these people out of the country.

It is not clear how many US citizens are in Sudan. The State Department does not keep official statistics of US citizens in foreign countries, and Americans are not required to register when they travel abroad. State Department officials told employees of the estimated 16,000 US citizens in Sudan, most of them dual nationals.

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This story has been updated with additional reaction.

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