Sudan updates: Army prepares to evacuate foreign diplomats
The Sudanese army has agreed to help extract US, UK, Chinese and French diplomats out of the country
With the fighting in Sudan entering its second week, the nation's military agreed to coordinate evacuation efforts for diplomats and citizens from the US, UK, China and France. In a statement, the military said the Saudi diplomatic mission has already been evacuated.
Saudi state TV announced on Saturday afternoon the arrival of the evacuated personnel from the coastal Port Sudan city to the Red Sea city of Jeddah. The evacuation vessel carried 50 Saudi citizens and a number of citizens from "friendly countries."
Jordan said it was preparing a similar evacuation operation for its nationals currently stuck in Sudan, in coordination with the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani also announced on Saturday that 19 Italians "who were on a cruise in the waters of Port Sudan" were safely evacuated. They docked in Egypt's Red Sea resort Hurghada.
Tajani thanked embassy staff in Khartoum and Cairo.
The news comes a day after the US State Department said the situation was still too risky for an evacuation of embassy personnel. Later in the day, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said they were ready to "partially" open "all airports" in Sudan to evacuate foreign citizens. However, it is not possible to verify which airports they control.
On Saturday, the military said the US, UK, China and France will evacuate their diplomats and nationals on military planes.
Sudan's army has been locked in battle with the Rapid Support Forces and its leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Previous allies worked together to overthrow the interim Sudanese government in 2021, are now clashing for power with neither party gaining a visible advantage yet.
Here are the key headlines around the Sudan crisis for April 22.
Fighting continues despite agreed Eid ceasefire
The struggle for power in Sudan — which has already killed hundreds and injured thousands — continued on Saturday as gunfire shattered the temporary truce between the forces of the country's rival generals.
The army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, had agreed on Friday to a ceasefire for three days in respect of Eid al-Fitr and to allow for humanitarian services. Overnight, the heavy explosions that previously rocked the capital Khartoum, had subsided. But bursts of gunfire resumed in the morning.
Two previous 24-hour ceasefires announced earlier in the week were also ignored.
Meanwhile, the lives of the 5 million residents of Khartoum have been upended. Most people are taking shelter inside their homes without electricity in unrelenting heat for days. The city is seeing the worst of the fight with constant air strikes, tanks patrolling the streets and gunfire in densely populated areas. However, violence has also spread to the country such as the western region of Darfur.
Over two-thirds of hospitals in conflict areas 'out of service'
The latest death toll, provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the number of killed at 413, with over 3,500 wounded. The WHO warned that the actual numbers might be higher.
On Saturday, the Sudanese doctors' union said two-thirds of hospitals in Khartoum and the neighboring states were "out of service." According to the body, 32 hospitals have been forcibly evacuated by soldiers or caught in the crossfire. Some of the remaining hospitals are working without adequate access to water and electricity, are understaffed, and can only provide first aid.
People in Sudan have turned to social media to ask for medical help, prescriptions medication and transport to the remaining hospitals. For more information on their efforts and the situation inside the country, click here.