Sudan ‘collapses’ in war entering third week, evacuations continue

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The fighting left at least 528 dead and 4,599 injured. If the truce does not stop the fighting, it does not prevent the continuation of evacuations. According to the UN, “hundreds of thousands” of people are expected to leave the country.

The World with AFP

Published on April 29, 2023 at 8:47 p.m., modified yesterday at 9:10 a.m.
 A woman on a ferry carrying some 1,900 evacuees from Sudan as it docks at the Saudi King Faisal naval base in Jeddah on April 29, 2023. FAY NURELDINE /

Air raids and heavy shooting in Khartoum, thousands of people evacuated from Sudan: the fierce and deadly fighting between the army and the paramilitaries entered its third week, Saturday April 29, while a new truce has not been respected .

The country has been plunged into chaos since the outbreak, on April 15, of a bloody power struggle between the head of the army, Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Al- Bourhane, and his number two, Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, known as “Hemetti”. , at the head of the dreaded Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lamented, through Al-Arabiya channel, that “the war for power continues as the country is collapsing” . Each camp accuses itself of violating the truce extended, under international mediation, until Sunday midnight (Paris time). On Friday, the generals at war were torn apart by the media.

On the Al-Hurra channel, Bourhane described the FSR as “a militia seeking to destroy Sudan” with the help of “mercenaries from Chad, the Central African Republic and Niger” . Hemetti spoke on the BBC of his rival as a “traitor” who is “untrustworthy” .

The fighting left at least 528 dead and 4,599 injured, according to the latest official figures released on Saturday. If the truce does not stop the fighting, it does not prevent the continuation of evacuations. Tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled to neighboring states including Egypt, Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan, while foreign countries are carrying out mass evacuations of their nationals. 

“The window of opportunity is closing”

A convoy organized by the United States allowed the evacuation of “American citizens, local employees and nationals of allied and partner countries” to the coastal city of Port Sudan, from where they can embark for Saudi Arabia , the State Department announced on Saturday. From this port on the Red Sea, “we are helping [them] continue their journey to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where additional US personnel are in place to provide consular and emergency services ,” he said. he adds.

Un ferry transportant environ 1 900 personnes évacuées par la mer Rouge, de Port-Soudan à la base navale saoudienne King Faisal à Djedda, le 29 avril 2023, lors des efforts d’évacuation des personnes qui fuient le Soudan.

The US Department of Defense said in a separate statement that it has deployed “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to support air and ground evacuation routes” and moved “naval assets to provide necessary support on the coast” .

“The window of opportunity is closing ,” regretted Canada. “We continue to evaluate different options for evacuating Canadians, including by land and sea ,” said Defense Minister Anita Anand. In all, “more than 375 Canadians” have been evacuated from Sudan and about 300 others are waiting for help to get out of the country, added the minister.

London, for its part, announced on Saturday that it had evacuated nearly 1,900 people from Sudan since Tuesday. Some 2,000 British subjects in Sudan had put themselves on a Foreign Office list, and anyone eligible for evacuation had until Saturday morning to reach an air base to board the final flights. . Initially, the operation was reserved for holders of a British passport and their relatives with a British residence permit. But after an outcry in the UK, around 20 Sudanese doctors working for the British public health system (NHS) were able to benefit from it. food. “There are clashes with heavy weapons and machine guns” , reveals to Agence France-Presse (AFP) a resident of Khartoum, while another witness reports “explosions and shooting” elsewhere in the city. capital city. About 70% of hospitals in combat zones are out of service, according to the doctors’ union.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “hundreds of thousands” of people are expected to leave the country. Some 14,000 people, mostly South Sudanese, have already arrived in South Sudan, a spokeswoman for the UN agency told AFP on Saturday. “The ongoing fighting in Sudan is expected to cause further displacement inside and outside the country. We are stepping up our efforts to help those seeking safety ,” UNHCR wrote on its Twitter account on Saturday.

The UN estimates that millions more people could sink into hunger, while a third of the 45 million Sudanese already suffer from it in the country, one of the poorest in the world.

Still according to the UN, 75,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, which was particularly violent in Darfur, a region torn apart by a war in the 2000s. Looting, destruction and fires are increasing there in the West, including in camps of displaced persons, reports the organization Médecins sans frontières. The NGO had to “stop almost all of [its] activities there” , regrets its deputy head in Sudan, Sylvain Perron.

In recent days, a hundred people have been killed in fighting which ravaged Al-Geneina, its capital, according to the UN, whose boss, Antonio Guterres, deplored a “terrible” situation . “Society is collapsing, we see tribes now trying to arm themselves ,” he said.



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