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UPDATE: Eleven Poles evacuated from violence-torn Sudan: officials

24.04.2023 15:30
Eleven Polish individuals, including Warsaw’s ambassador, have been airlifted from Sudan amid a humanitarian crisis caused by the outbreak of fighting between the country’s army and a paramilitary group, the Polish foreign ministry has said.

The evacuation of Polish citizens was announced by the spokesman for Poland’s foreign ministry on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

Łukasz Jasina told PAP: “Eleven Poles have been evacuated by the French and Spanish convoys from Sudan. This figure comprises Polish diplomats, including the ambassador, and private persons.”

On Monday afternoon, the Polish foreign ministry tweeted: “We would like to thank our partners from France, Spain and Germany for their invaluable help in evacuating Polish citizens from Sudan.”

It added: “We are glad that in the most difficult moments we can always count on the support of our allies.”

Spain airlifted 104 civilians, including a group of Poles, from Sudan to fellow northeastern African country Djibouti on Sunday evening, the PAP news agency reported. 

The Spanish mission included citizens from Poland, Argentina, Colombia, Ireland, Portugal, Mexico, Venezuela and Sudan itself, according to the British broadcaster BBC.

The operation, carried out by some 200 soldiers, was described as “complex and dangerous” by Spanish media, the PAP news agency reported.

The evacuees had to travel 35 kilometres from the Spanish embassy in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to Wadi Seidna Air Base, where the planes were waiting, according to news outlets.

This required passing through land torn by fighting between the Sudanese army and the well-armed Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, PAP  reported, citing Spain’s La Razon newspaper. 

More than 1,000 EU citizens evacuated from Sudan: officials 

Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters that more than 1,000 EU citizens, including diplomatic staff, had been taken out of Sudan, according to the BBC.

He added, however, that the European bloc would continue to work for a political settlement to the conflict in Sudan, the Reuters news agency reported. 

Borrell said on Monday morning: "We have to continue pushing for a political settlement. We cannot afford that Sudan implodes because it would send shockwaves throughout the whole of Africa."

Civil war erupts in Sudan

A vicious power struggle between Sudan’s regular army and the powerful RSF paramilitary force led to the outbreak of violence on April 15, and fighting has engulfed the whole the country, according to news outlets.

The United Nations’ World Health Organization said the fighting had killed at least 427 people and injured 3,700.

However, the death toll is believed to be much higher as people are struggling to get healthcare, with most of Khartoum's hospitals having been forced to close by the fighting, the BBC reported.

Amid the continuing violence, Sudanese families are running out of food and water, according to news reports. 


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, BBC