Fighting rages on in Sudan as foreign evacuations slow

World Saturday 29/April/2023 17:17 PM
By: DW
Fighting rages on in Sudan as foreign evacuations slow

Khartoum: Warplanes continued to hover over Khartoum on Saturday, with the sound of air strikes and artillery challenging a 72-hour cease-fire agreement that's nearly halfway through.

Both the Sudanese military, under the leadership of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group continued to exchange blame for the violence, which has already entered its third week.

"We woke up once again to the sound of fighter jets and anti-aircraft weapons blasting all over our neighbourhood," a witness in southern Khartoum told the French AFP news agency.

The violence has thus far killed at least 512 and injured over 4,000 more, as per United Nations figures. The real toll is believed to be significantly higher.

The UN also says at least 75,000 have been internally displaced due to the fighting. They include many of the capital's population, which, when combined with the adjoining cities of Bahri and Omdurman, is home to some 10 million.

Several others have meanwhile crossed into neighboring countries, seeking refuge.

Foreign evacuations slow
Meanwhile, foreign missions flying or ferrying people out of the country continued on Saturday, albeit at a slower rate after a full week of daily extractions.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday that it evacuated over 130 Australians. It added that those remaining in the conflict-torn country should consider leaving at the earliest opportunity.

"Opportunities to depart on an evacuation flight are rapidly closing," the department cautioned.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office had announced effectively ending what it described as its "longest and largest evacuation effort of any Western country," citing a "declining demand for seats" as well as fears of renewed or intensifying fighting.

The last flight out of Sudan was scheduled to take off at midday on Saturday.

Over 1,500 people had been airlifted by British evacuation planes over the past week, the FCO said.

The New York Times reported that the a convoy of buses carrying some 300 Americans had left Khartoum late on Friday bound for the the Red Sea coast, while the US said several hundred had departed Sudan either by land, sea or air in recent weeks.