The United States has evacuated its embassy staff from Sudan due to the ongoing conflict between rival military factions. Other countries are also planning evacuations, but they are facing problems. The army and paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan have accused each other of attacking a convoy of French nationals, resulting in one person being wounded. France’s Foreign Ministry did not comment on the reports. The army also accused the RSF of attacking and looting a Qatari convoy heading to Port Sudan. Egypt reported that a member of its mission in Sudan had been wounded by a gunshot.
President Joe Biden announced the temporary suspension of embassy operations but reiterated calls for a ceasefire that has so far gone unheeded. The conflict erupted on April 15 and has killed more than 400 people. It pits Sudan’s army against the RSF, who jointly staged a coup in 2021 but fell out during negotiations over a plan to form a civilian government and integrate the RSF into the armed forces.
The fighting has continued around the army’s headquarters in central Khartoum and the airport, which has been closed by the clashes. Over the past two days, intense fighting has occurred in Bahri, where the army has used ground troops as well as air strikes to try to push back the RSF. The RSF said on Sunday that its forces were targeted by air strikes in Bahri’s Kafouri district, resulting in dozens being killed and injured.
Sudan’s sudden collapse into warfare has dashed plans to restore civilian rule, brought an already impoverished country to the brink of humanitarian disaster, and threatened a wider conflict that could draw in outside powers. Diplomats and foreign nationals have struggled to find a way out of the country. The United States used special forces to evacuate fewer than 100 people from Khartoum. Saudi Arabia has already evacuated Gulf citizens from Port Sudan on the Red Sea, 650 km (400 miles) from Khartoum. Jordan will use the same route for its nationals. Egypt has urged its nationals outside Khartoum to head to its consulate in Port Sudan and to a consular office in Wadi Halfa on the border with Egypt in preparation for their evacuation.
Reports of the worst violence have come from Darfur, a western region bordering Chad that suffered a conflict that escalated in 2003, leaving 300,000 people dead and 2.7 million displaced.