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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Foreigners flee Sudan as conflict escalates

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Hundreds of foreigners have been evacuated from Sudan as the conflict between two rival generals intensifies, leaving thousands of Sudanese trapped in the crossfire.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and other countries have flown out their diplomats, embassy staff and citizens from Sudan’s capital Khartoum over the weekend, amid heavy fighting and shortages of water, food, fuel and medicine.

The U.S. and Canada have also announced temporary suspensions of operations at their embassies in Khartoum. An estimated 16,000 Americans – most of whom are dual U.S.-Sudanese citizens – remain in Sudan. Some of them are making their way to Sudan’s main seaport via a United Nations-led convoy, which the U.S. is monitoring for their safety.

With Khartoum international airport disabled after battles that left charred airplanes on the runways, many foreigners were airlifted out from smaller airstrips, many to nearby Djibouti. Long convoys of UN cars and buses have also made their way from the capital to Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.

The fighting started on April 15 in the already poverty-stricken African nation with a history of military coups, sparking fears of a deeper descent into bloodshed and a wider humanitarian crisis.

Across the capital city of five million, roaming army and paramilitary troops have fought ferocious street battles, with the sky often blackened by fires in bombed buildings and looted shops.

Life in war-torn Khartoum is “burdened with anxiety and exhaustion. The military toppled Bashir in April 2019 following mass citizen protests. The two generals seized power in a 2021 coup, but later fell out in a bitter power struggle, most recently centered on the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army.

At least 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 wounded, according to United Nations agencies, which also reported Sudanese civilians “fleeing areas affected by fighting, including to Chad, Egypt and South Sudan”.

Source : Eurasia Media Network

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