Countries Evacuating Nationals from Sudan


The recent conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary has left thousands of foreigners, including diplomats and aid workers, stranded in Sudan. Several countries have launched operations to evacuate their diplomatic staff and other nationals, with some efforts being made via Port Sudan on the Red Sea. However, the distance between Khartoum and Port Sudan is about 800km (500 miles) by road, despite being only 650km (400 miles) northeast of Khartoum.

The United States has evacuated all US government personnel and their dependents, along with a few diplomats from other countries, from the embassy using helicopters that flew from a base in Djibouti and refuelled in Ethiopia. The embassy has suspended operations due to security risks but local staff remain to support it. Washington does not plan to coordinate an evacuation of other US citizens in Sudan but is looking at options to help them leave.

The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said British diplomats have all been evacuated from Sudan. “UK armed forces have completed a complex and rapid evacuation of British diplomats and their families from Sudan, amid a significant escalation in violence and threats to embassy staff,” he wrote on Twitter. Sunak also called for both sides “to lay down their arms and implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.

France’s Foreign Ministry said it was evacuating its diplomats and citizens. However, the warring army and RSF each accused the other of attacking a French convoy. The army said the RSF had fired on the convoy, wounding a French national. The RSF said it had been attacked by aircraft during the evacuation, leading to a French national being wounded, and it had returned the convoy to its starting point.

Moscow’s ambassador in Khartoum told Russian state media that 140 out of roughly 300 Russians in Sudan had said they wanted to leave. Evacuation plans were made but were still impossible to implement because they involve crossing front lines, the ambassador said. He added that there were about 15 people, including a woman and child, stuck in a Russian Orthodox church close to heavy fighting in Khartoum.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that it had evacuated 91 Saudi citizens from Port Sudan to Jeddah, along with 66 nationals from several other “friendly and brotherly countries”. Kuwait said all citizens wishing to return home had arrived in Jeddah. Jordan said it had sent four military planes to evacuate about 260 nationals. On Saturday it said it was evacuating from Port Sudan.

Italy said its nationals would be taken out of Sudan on Sunday night along with some people from Vatican City, Switzerland and other European countries. Italy’s foreign minister said some 140 Italians would be evacuated from Sudan, plus around 60 people from other countries. South Korea said on Friday that it was sending a military aircraft to evacuate 25 citizens in Sudan.

Canada said it was suspending operations in Sudan and Canadian diplomats would temporarily work from a safe location outside the country, without commenting on evacuation efforts. Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said on Twitter that her country was conducting operations in cooperation with France and the Netherlands to evacuate European nationals “as quickly as possible”. The Swedish government has agreed to send a unit of up to 400 armed soldiers to support evacuation efforts in Sudan.

In conclusion, the ongoing conflict in Sudan has left many foreigners stranded and has led several countries to launch operations to evacuate their diplomatic staff and other nationals. While some have been successful in evacuating their citizens, others are facing challenges due to the distance between Khartoum and Port Sudan and the difficulty of crossing front lines. The situation remains tense, and it is essential for both sides to lay down their arms and implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to ensure the safety of all citizens in Sudan.