Western countries evacuate their citizens during fighting in Sudan

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The United States and a large number of European countries began evacuating their citizens on Sunday Sudanwhere bloody fighting between the army and paramilitaries entered the second week despite a practically unrespected truce.

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The first country to carry out the evacuation by air in the early hours of this Sunday was the United States, but only to diplomats and their families. Other nations, on the other hand, overwhelmingly European, have followed this path, in an operation in which incidents have already occurred, such as a French citizen wounded by a bullet.

Saudi Arabia decided on Saturday to evacuate its citizens and other countries by land and sea, for which it used five ships sailing from Port Sudan (east) to the coastal city of Jeddah, via the Red Sea.

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Violence in Sudan erupted on April 15 between the army of General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, the de facto ruler since the 2021 coup, and his rival, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, leader of the Rapid Support Forces (FAR). .

The clashes in this north-eastern African country of about 45 million inhabitants are taking place essentially in Khartoum, the capital, and in the Darfur region, in the west of the country.

More than 420 people have died so far and 3,700 have been injuredaccording to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Black smoke over Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, under the crossfire between opposing army deployments.  Photo: REUTERS

Black smoke over Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, under the crossfire between opposing army deployments. Photo: REUTERS

The Pope invites dialogue

This Sunday, Pope Francis asked that both parties involved resume dialogue in the face of the “serious” situation in the country. Two previously agreed truces in the week failed to stop the clashes.

The violence has displaced tens of thousands of people in other parts of Sudan and in neighboring Chad and Egypt.

Even several countries such as France, Italy or Turkey have started to evacuate their citizens delicate operations by land, air or sea.

The videos released by journalists show dozens of United Nations vehicles leaving the capital for Port Sudan, a city on the Red Sea.

Attack on the French convoy

France has launched a “rapid evacuation operation”, the foreign ministry announced on Sunday. The operation includes European citizens and allied countries.

But the process has not been easy for France. Its officials had to abort the operation after their convoy was attacked, the Sudanese army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (FAR) said.

Both sides are accusing each other of attacking the French embassy convoy, in which a French citizen was killed, both Sudanese sources said. Paris has so far not confirmed this information.

The Sudanese military accused the FAR in a statement of “having fired on the French embassy convoy, which caused it to return and disrupt the evacuation process” and said that “one of the French was wounded by a sniper’s bullet”.

Sudanese soldiers, loyal to the army chief, on a tank in the city of Port Sudan.  Photo: AFP

Sudanese soldiers, loyal to the army chief, on a tank in the city of Port Sudan. Photo: AFP

Italy also indicated it was trying to get its nationals trapped in the country out, as did Turkey, which was forced to halt its operations earlier explosion near meeting point in Kafuri district north of Khartoum.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his country’s military carried out a “complex and rapid evacuation” of British diplomats and their families.

In a Twitter post, Sunak stressed that the evacuation was carried out against a “context of escalating violence and threats against embassy staff”.

The United States also evacuated its government personnel from Khartoum by helicopter, President Joe Biden said in a statement hours earlier. Washington has also temporarily suspended the operations of its embassy.

The fierce fighting between the forces of the two ruling generals does not subside.

Gunfire is intensifying in and around the capital, according to witnesses. Fighter planes fly over the area as paramilitary armored personnel carriers advance.

Khartoum residents flee their homes amid fighting in the Sudanese capital.  Photo: AFP

Khartoum residents flee their homes amid fighting in the Sudanese capital. Photo: AFP

The attacks have already destroyed and forced the closure of “72% of hospitals” in combat zones, warns the doctors’ union.

In the streets, the clashes leave their mark. Sunday some street lamps lay on the ground, while others burnt shops Columns of smoke continued to rise.

For researcher Hamid Jalafallah, “asking for safe corridors to evacuate foreigners without at the same time asking for an end to the war would be terrible”.

“International actors will have less weight when they leave the country: do everything possible to leave safely, but don’t leave the Sudanese behind without protection”, he urged.

Terrified residents trapped in their homes

In Khartoum, with a population of 5 million, the conflict has left the terrified civilians taking refuge in their homes. Many fear a resurgence of violence after the departure of the foreigners.

Caught between fighting, they lack water and electricity, while food supplies are running low. Internet and telephone networks work intermittently.

The first evacuation was made possible as fighting subsided on Friday, the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The dispute between Burhan and Daglo stemmed from plans to integrate the FAR into the regular army, a key requirement of the deal to restore democracy in Sudan after the military coup that ousted autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 .

The World Food Program has warned that millions more they may starve to death as a result of the violencein the third largest country in Africa, where one third of the population needs humanitarian aid.

Source: AFP and EFE

Source: Clarin

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