Countries rush Sudan evacuations, fearful of violence rocking Khartoum

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Spanish military plane and military vehicles are seen departing on tarmac as Spanish diplomatic personnel and citizens are evacuated, in Khartoum, Sudan, April 23, 2023. Spanish Defence Ministry Handout/Handout via REUTERS

A German air force plane with 101 people evacuated from Sudan landed in Berlin early on Monday, as countries rushed to extract their citizens from Khartoum amid a deadly power struggle between the army and a paramilitary force.

Sweden said that all its embassy staff in Khartoum, their families and an unspecified number of other Swedes had been evacuated to nearby Djibouti.

Swedish military planes and personnel would continue to help in the evacuation of foreign nationals as long as the security situation allowed, the country said.

Sudan’s sudden slide into conflict between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has seen hundreds of people killed, and stranded thousands of foreigners, including diplomats and aid workers.

Several evacuations are by air. Others are via Port Sudan on the Red Sea, which is about 650 km (400 miles) northeast of Khartoum, but is about 800 km (500 miles) by road.

The German air force has flown out 311 people so far from an airfield near Khartoum, the military said, and the first batch was brought back to Berlin on Monday aboard an Airbus A321 from the Al Azrak base in Jordan, which is being used as a hub for the evacuation operation.

The German military did not provide a break-down of how many of those evacuated were German citizens or nationals from other countries.

The fighting in Sudan has triggered a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country, where millions of people have been left without access to basic services.

At least 420 people have been killed since the fighting broke out on April 15, four years after long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled.

The army and RSF jointly staged a coup in 2021 but fell out during negotiations to integrate the two groups and form a civilian government, and their rivalry has raised the risk of a wider conflict that could draw in outside powers.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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