Saudi Arabia announces first civilian evacuations from Sudan as fighting continues

Saudi Arabia announces first civilian evacuations from Sudan as fighting continues
At least 50 Saudi citizens were evacuated from Sudan, and arrived in Jeddah, according to Saudi state media.
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Foreign nationals have been evacuated from Sudan, as fighting in the country intensifies [Getty]

A ship carrying Saudi citizens and other nationals rescued from battle-scarred Sudan arrived Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi television said, in the first announced evacuation of civilians since fighting began.

"The first evacuation vessel from Sudan has arrived, carrying 50 (Saudi) citizens and a number of nationals from friendly countries," the state-run Al-Ekhbariya television said, showing warships near the dock.

The vessel berthed at the Red Sea port of Jeddah where four other ships carrying 108 people from 11 different countries were expected later from Sudan, the broadcaster said.

It also released a video showing women and children carrying Saudi flags on board one of the ships.

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Those who have arrived in Jeddah include the crew of a Saudi passenger plane that was hit by gunfire while preparing to take off from Khartoum at the start of the fighting on April 15, according to Al-Ekhbariya.

A convoy of vehicles carried the evacuees to Port Sudan from where they boarded ships to Jeddah, according to the broadcaster.

Hundreds have died due to the battles between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy turned rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Heavy gunfire, loud explosions, and fighter jets roared in many parts of the capital Saturday morning, according to witnesses.