France has begun the rapid evacuation of its citizens and diplomatic staff from Sudan, which is riven by power struggles between the country’s military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Units. The French Foreign Ministry told AFP today. European citizens and nationals from “friendly partner countries” are being looked after, the office said, without elaborating.
Several evacuation convoys on their way from Sudan. “Our colleagues in Cairo, Brussels and Prague at Headquarters are working to get Czech citizens into these convoys,” Marianna Vernerova of the Foreign Ministry’s Communications Department told TK Network today. Czechs top the evacuation lists of European Union countries, including the French. Werner added: “We are in contact with all of them directly or indirectly through their employers.” According to the ministry, there are four Czechs in Sudan.
The United States also evacuated its diplomats and their families from Sudan today. This was announced by US President Joe Biden, who, according to the agencies, issued the order as it became clear that the fighting was not going to stop anytime soon. The United States denied reports that the Rapid Support Units were assisting them in their alleged rescue operation.
For example, Saudi Arabia has transported its people from Sudan through a port in the east of the country, but many other countries have not yet been able to guarantee the return of their citizens. Britain, China and Japan must also evacuate their diplomats in the near future.
The commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said on Saturday that he would help coordinate the evacuation of foreigners. Dagal’s opponent, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, who leads the Sudanese army and de facto ruler of the country, also confirmed that the return of foreigners to their home countries would be “facilitated and guaranteed.” But the ongoing battles in the Sudanese capital cast doubt on these claims, the Associated Press reported.
The situation on the ground remains unstable. Most of the major airports have become battlegrounds and moving outside the capital has proven to be very dangerous. Both adversaries have indicated that they will fully resume fighting after the declared three-day armistice, which they are partially ignoring.
The rival groups are led by former allies, Generals Burhan, the head of the army, and the commander of the RSF, Dagalo. In October 2021, they jointly staged a military coup that thwarted Sudan’s brief transition to civilian rule. The army ruled out any negotiations with the RSF on Thursday, saying it would only accept their surrender.
The United Nations and foreign countries have called on the rival generals to abide by the declared ceasefire and to open safe passage for fleeing civilians and aid supplies.
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