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Sudan updates: Foreign evacuations underway amid fighting

Published April 22, 2023last updated April 22, 2023

The Sudanese army has agreed to help extract US, UK, Chinese and French diplomats out of the country. The fighting continued into the weekend, breaking yet another temporary cease-fire. DW has the latest.

Smoke is seen in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, April 22, 2023.
Gunfire was reported in Khartoum despite the truce announced on FridayImage: Marwan Ali/AP Photo/picture alliance

With the fighting in Sudan entering its second week, the nation's military agreed to coordinate evacuation efforts for diplomats and citizens from the US, UK, China and France. In a statement, the military said the Saudi diplomatic mission has already been evacuated.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that 91 Saudi nationals were safely evacuated from the coastal Port Sudan city to the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Sixty-six were also evacuated from "brotherly and friendly" countries including: Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada and Burkina Faso. 

Those evacuated included diplomats and international officials, the Saudi ministry said.

Jordan said it was preparing a similar evacuation operation for its nationals currently stuck in Sudan, in coordination with the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani also announced on Saturday that 19 Italians "who were on a cruise in the waters of Port Sudan" were safely evacuated. They docked in Egypt's Red Sea resort Hurghada.

Tajani thanked embassy staff in Khartoum and Cairo.

The news comes a day after the US State Department said the situation was still too risky for an evacuation of embassy personnel. Later in the day, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said they were ready to "partially" open "all airports" in Sudan to evacuate foreign citizens. However, it is not possible to verify which airports they control.

Sudan: Journalist Mat Nashed reporting from Cairo

On Saturday, the military said the US, UK, China and France will evacuate their diplomats and nationals on military planes.

Sudan's army has been locked in battle with the Rapid Support Forces and its leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Previous allies worked together to overthrow the interim Sudanese government in 2021, are now clashing for power with neither party gaining a visible advantage yet. 

Here are the key headlines around the Sudan crisis for April 22:

Army general Burhan calls for 'right way out'

Army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the fighting parties need to sit together and find a solution to the crisis, the first hint of readiness for talks since the fighting broke out eight days ago.

"We must all sit as Sudanese and find the right way out to return hope and life," Burhan told the Saudi Al Arabiya broadcaster on Saturday. "Everyone is a loser in this war."

The army general also told Al Arabiya that the living situation was deteriorating, saying he shared the international community's concern for foreign nationals currently stuck in Sudan.

He added that "all airports were under army control," except for the Khartoum airport and the southwestern Nyala airport.

The military had earlier announced it would assist with the evacuation of foreign nationals within the coming hours.

Fighting continues despite agreed Eid ceasefire

The struggle for power in Sudan —  which has already killed hundreds and injured thousands — continued on Saturday as gunfire shattered the temporary truce between the forces of the country's rival generals.

The army, led by Burhan, had agreed on Friday to a ceasefire for three days in respect of Eid al-Fitr and to allow for humanitarian services. Overnight, the heavy explosions that previously rocked the capital Khartoum, had subsided. But bursts of gunfire resumed in the morning.

Two previous 24-hour cease-fires announced earlier in the week were also ignored

Sudan: Renewed fighting despite truce

Meanwhile, the lives of the 5 million residents of Khartoum have been upended. Most people are taking shelter inside their homes without electricity in unrelenting heat for days. The city is seeing the worst of the fight with constant air strikes, tanks patrolling the streets and gunfire in densely populated areas. However, violence has also spread to the country such as the western region of Darfur.

Over two-thirds of hospitals in conflict areas 'out of service'

The latest death toll, provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the number of killed at 413, with over 3,500 wounded. The WHO warned that the actual numbers might be higher.

On Saturday, the Sudanese doctors' union said two-thirds of hospitals in Khartoum and the neighboring states were "out of service." According to the body, 32 hospitals have been forcibly evacuated by soldiers or caught in the crossfire. Some of the remaining hospitals are working without adequate access to water and electricity, are understaffed, and can only provide first aid.

People in Sudan have turned to social media to ask for medical help, prescription medication and transport to the remaining hospitals. For more information on their efforts and the situation inside the country, click here.

You can catch up on our Friday coverage of the Sudan crisis here.


Sudan: Military rules out RSF negotiations

rmt, mk/dj (AFP, Reuters)