News World The United States and the United Kingdom evacuated their diplomatic staff from...

The United States and the United Kingdom evacuated their diplomatic staff from Sudan

Photo: AFP

The United States and the United Kingdom evacuated their diplomatic staff from Sudan and France launched an operation to remove its citizens, at the start of a second week of bloody fighting between the army and a paramilitary group.

Violence in the northeast African country of 45 million people broke out on April 15 between the forces of Army chief General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan and General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, called the Support Forces. Fast (FAR).

The dispute arose from plans to integrate the FAR paramilitaries into the regular Army.a key requirement of the deal to restore democracy to Sudan following the military coup that ousted autocratic ruler Omar al Bashir in April 2019.

Al Burhan and Daglo then toppled the civilian government that replaced Al Bashir’s in 2021, and their fight puts a damper on plans to restore democratic institutions and raises fears of civil war in Africa’s third-largest country.

The violent clashes take place essentially in Khartoum, the capital, and in the Darfur region, in the west of the Arab and Muslim country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), More than 420 people have been killed and 3,700 injured so far in the fighting, which in Khartoum is being fought in densely populated areas and with tanks, artillery and warplanes..

AFP photo
Photo: AFP

The violence also displaced tens of thousands of people to other states in Sudan or neighboring Chad and Egypt, prompting several countries to launch evacuation operations for their citizens.

The feuding generals have said they will not negotiate and have rejected international calls to end the violence. Two 24-hour truces agreed last week had almost no impact on the fighting, which never stopped.

American evacuation

US President Joe Biden announced that US elite forces evacuated their country’s diplomatic personnel from Khartoum with helicopters and that Washington temporarily suspended the operations of its embassy in Sudan.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the British Armed Forces had completed an evacuation of its diplomats and their families from Sudan in the face of a “significant increase in violence.”

The French Foreign Ministry announced that it has launched a “rapid evacuation operation” that includes both French citizens and other European and allied countries, the AFP news agency reported.

The US State Department said that those evacuated by the Biden government were a hundred people, including diplomats.

AFP photo
Photo: AFP

There are still hundreds of other US citizens in the country, whose evacuation is not planned “at the moment,” added a State Department official.

For its part, Turkey also announced plans to remove its citizens from Sudan by land or through a third country.

Saudi Arabia was the first country to evacuate its citizens – 91 – on Saturday, along with about 60 others. They all arrived in Jeddah, a Saudi port city on the Red Sea.

Call of Pope Francis

In the Vatican, For the second consecutive Sunday, Pope Francis called for “dialogue” in the face of the “serious” situation in Sudan.

“Unfortunately, the situation in Sudan continues to be serious, so I renew my call for the violence to cease as soon as possible and the path of dialogue to be resumed,” he said during his traditional Sunday prayer in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

“Unfortunately, the situation in Sudan continues to be serious, which is why I renew my call to stop the violence as soon as possible and resume the path of dialogue”Pope Francisco

“I invite everyone to pray for our Sudanese brothers and sisters,” added the Argentine pontiff.

Without truce

In Sudan, the fierce fighting between the forces of the two generals in power did not let up and made evacuation work difficult.

A strong explosion took place in the Kafuri neighborhood in the north of Khartoum, near a mosque that had been designated as a meeting point for Turkish civilians. The evacuation operation had to be postponed.

Clashes and shootings are raging in and around the capital, AFP reported.

Fighter planes flew over the area while paramilitary armored vehicles advanced.

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

In Khartoum, population 5 million, the conflict has left terrified civilians sheltering in their homes. Many leave only to look for food or to flee and fear a resurgence of violence after the departure of the foreigners.

Caught between the fighting, they lack water and electricity, while food reserves are depleting. Internet and telephone networks work intermittently.

The first evacuation was made possible by a decline in fighting on Friday, the first day of the Aid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Army and the FAR had announced separate ceasefires, but accused each other after violating the truce.

Both sides are also locked in an information war and it is impossible to know who controls the country’s airports and what condition they are in after being the scene of intense fighting.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) has warned that millions more could go hungry due to violence in Sudan, where a third of the population needs help.

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