Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves evacuations from the U.S embassy in Sudan due to conflict in the region.
The U.S. military completed the evacuation of all American embassy personnel and family members from Sudan early Sunday local time, President Joe Biden said, as rival military factions battled for control of the country amid a sharp uptick in casualties.
The decision to evacuate all personnel and suspend embassy operations was made because of “serious and growing security risks” stemming from the fighting between Sudan’s military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Suspending operations at one of our embassies is always a difficult decision, but the safety of our personnel is my first responsibility,” Blinken said.
The two parties have been fighting for more than a week, raising fears of a wider conflict in the Horn of Africa. On Saturday, the Sudanese military said that countries such as the United States, Britain, France and China would soon evacuate their diplomatic staff “within the coming hours.” In a statement, the Sudanese armed forces said that its leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, had agreed to facilitate and secure the evacuation of foreign nationals from the capital, Khartoum, after requests from multiple countries. The army said those nations, including the United States, would use their own military aircraft to evacuate citizens and diplomatic staffers, even as the main airport in Khartoum remained closed.
“It is not currently safe to undertake a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of private U.S. citizens,” the embassy said on Twitter.
The chaos that has engulfed Sudan since fighting broke out between the army and the RSF earlier this month. Burhan, who leads the armed forces, has been locked in a power struggle with the RSF’s top commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
Together, the two generals seized control of Sudan in a coup in 2021, toppling a short-lived civilian government. In December, they signed a framework deal to transition the country back to civilian rule but disagreed over key elements, including how to reintegrate the RSF, which grew out of the Janjaweed militias in Darfur, into the armed forces.
The two sides began fighting in Khartoum and other cities on April 15, days after the deadline to form a civilian government passed. At least 400 people have been killed, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry, with thousands more injured and refugees now streaming into Chad from the Darfur region in western Sudan.
The violence also has closed hospitals and airports, preventing evacuations. The RSF said in a statement Friday that it was willing to open airports to allow countries to evacuate their nationals but it is unclear how many airports the RSF controls.
Burhan said his forces controlled all of Sudan’s airports except for one in Khartoum and another in the southwestern city of Nyala. “Living conditions are deteriorating, and we share the international community’s concern about foreign nationals,” he said in an interview Saturday with the Saudi television station Al-Hadath.
The evacuations fell during celebrations for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The warring factions said they had agreed to a temporary cease-fire for the holiday. Previous efforts to achieve temporary cease-fires have failed, and for days, gunfire and shelling have trapped residents at home as their supplies dwindle.
Credit: The Washington Post.