Sudan: UN warns country 'on edge of abyss' as mass evacuations continue

Sudan: UN warns country 'on edge of abyss' as mass evacuations continue
10 min read
After fighting erupted in Sudan between the army and paramilitary forces, countries across the world have been rushing to get their citizens out of the country safely.

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The United Nations warned that Sudan is "on the edge of the abyss" after 10 days of brutal fighting between rival forces.

Foreign countries have been rushing to evacuate their nationals from the country after fighting between paramilitary forces and the army entered its second week. 

Khartoum - a city of five million people - has seen vicious gun battles between soldiers loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and fighters supporting his rival Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

More than 420 people have been killed and thousands wounded, according to UN figures. 

Thousands of foreigners have left the country, some with the help of the UN and others under the direction of their respective governments. 

However, many are still stuck in the capital, with fears mounting that the scale of the humanitarian disaster could be catastrophic given the lack of resources and access to water, electricity and internet. 

To follow the latest updates on Sudan, you can also head to The New Arab's feed on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news and developments.


5:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Summary of events at the end of April 24 

  • Foreign nations pushed forward on Monday with evacuations of their citizens as the UN warned the country is on "the edge of the abyss" 
  • Millions of Sudanese are unable to flee battles between the army and paramilitary troops clashing again in Khartoum and across the country.
  • The United States and multiple European, Middle Eastern, African and Asian nations have launched emergency missions to bring to safety their embassy staff and Sudan-based citizens by road, air and sea 
  • At least 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 wounded 
3:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN says conflict could 'engulf the whole region' 

The UN secretary-general warned on Monday that the violence between warring parties in Sudan "could engulf the whole region and beyond".

Antonio Guterres told a meeting of the UN Security Council on multilateralism that the situation in Sudan "continues to worsen".

At least 427 people have been killed and almost 4,000 wounded in ten days of fighting between forces loyal to two rival generals.

"The violence must stop. It risks a catastrophic conflagration within Sudan that could engulf the whole region and beyond," he said.

Guterres added that he was "in constant contact with the parties to the conflict and have called on them to de-escalate tensions and to return to the negotiating table."

"We must all do everything within our power to pull Sudan back from the edge of the abyss," he said, repeating his call for a ceasefire.

His comments came after the UN said its head of mission Volker Perthes will remain in Sudan despite a mass exodus of foreigners.

"Let me be clear: the United Nations is not leaving Sudan," Guterres said, adding that the world body was "reconfiguring our presence in Sudan to enable us to continue supporting the Sudanese people."

"Our commitment is to the Sudanese people, in support of their wishes for a peaceful and secure future. We stand with them at this terrible time," he said.

2:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

South Korea says evacuating 28 nationals 

A bus carrying 28 South Korean citizens had arrived at the Port Sudan New International Airport for evacuation on military aircraft, South Korea's presidential office said on Monday.


2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Chad evacuating 438 citizens from Sudan 

Chad will evacuate 438 of its citizens from conflict-torn Sudan, busing them from Khartoum to Port Sudan on the Red Sea then flying them home, Chadian government spokesman Aziz Mahamat Saleh tweeted on Monday.

Forces loyal to two rival generals are clashing in the capital Khartoum and across the country, leaving at least 427 dead and more than 3,700 wounded, according to UN agency figures.

Foreign Minister Mahamat Saleh Annadif told AFP that the total number of Chadians living in Sudan was not known.

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Those who were being evacuated were 300 students as well as 120 Chadians in need of medical care, as well as "around 30" soldiers who were at Sudanese training schools, he said.

Chad closed its long 1,000-kilometre (600-mile) border with Sudan on April 15 after the violence erupted.

One of the poorest countries in the world, the nation is already hosting between 10,000 and 20,000 people who have fled the fighting, according to UN figures. Its national refugee agency, CNARR, has appealed for financial support in the face of what it has called a "new humanitarian crisis."

1:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

France closes Sudan embassy 

France said on Monday it was closing its embassy in Sudan, where clashes between the army and paramilitary forces have sparked evacuations of foreigners.

The French mission in Khartoum will be shut "until further notice", the foreign affairs ministry said, and would no longer serve as a rallying point for foreigners trying to leave Sudan.

1:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US readying navy ships to get Americans out of Sudan 

The United States is positioning some naval assets in the Red Sea to assist any Americans leaving Sudan but no major US evacuation is underway, White House spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.

"We are still looking at options. We've got military assets still in the region nearby should they be needed, but this is not the time to be conducting some sort of mass operation," he told MSNBC in an interview.

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He added that several dozen Americans were participating in a United Nations-led convoy to Port Sudan and that the US military was helping to monitor it via unmanned aerial systems.

"We're going to be positioning naval assets in the Red Sea off of Port Sudan in case they're going to be needed to help Americans who want to leave," Kirby told the television network.

1:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Nigeria plans to evacuate nearly 3,000 from Sudan 

Nigeria plans to start evacuating nearly 3,000 of its nationals, mostly students, from Sudan by convoy to Egypt this week, a top official said on Monday.

Onimode Bandele, special duties director for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency or NEMA, told Channels TV the plan was to move about 2,650 to 2,800, including families of embassy staff.

"Nobody has been evacuated yet," he said. "There are plans to get buses to start movement tomorrow morning."

Officials say a total of around 5,000 Nigerian nationals could be looking for evacuation.

Since fighting erupted in Sunday at least 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 wounded, according to UN agencies, which also reported Sudanese civilians fleeing areas affected by fighting, including to Chad, Egypt and South Sudan.

11:58 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sudan's animals in danger as fighting continues 

Sudan's animal rescue centres and zoos are in danger as intense fighting in the capital sees water and power cuts, with animals escaping their pens.

Khartoum's Animal Rescue Centre has 25 lions, six hyenas, two camels, five squirrels as well as several monkeys, turtles and dogs that all need regular care.  

The sanctuary said animals could starve as workers struggle to find supplies.

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11:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

UK citizens in Sudan 

The UK on Monday promised it was doing "everything we can" to evacuate its citizens from conflict-hit Sudan, as some of those trapped complained they felt "abandoned".

Foreign office minister Andrew Mitchell defended prioritising a night-time military operation to extract embassy staff and their families, saying there had been a "very specific threat to the diplomatic community".

Lawmaker Tobias Ellwood, chairman of a parliamentary defence committee, called for a "clear-cut plan" to get British passport holders out of Sudan.

"If that plan does not emerge today, then individuals will then lose faith and then start making their own way back," he told the television channel GB News, saying that could lead to "some very difficult situations".


One Briton told the BBC he had been forced to make his own evacuation arrangements, even as other countries got their citizens out of the country.

The man who gave his name as William said he left Khartoum on a bus arranged by his Sudanese employer because "we've had absolutely nothing but nonsense from the Government".

Another, Iman Abugarga, who is Khartoum, said she felt "absolutely" abandoned by the UK government, which came in for similar criticism after the Taliban took control of Kabul in 2021.

"It is shameful how they have mismanaged this situation," she told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Around 2,000 British passport-holders had contacted the UK authorities to register their presence in Sudan, Mitchell added.

"The situation is absolutely desperate and a ceasefire is what is required," Mitchell said, adding that the "only advice that Britain can give to people is to stay indoors because that is the safe option".

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday said UK armed forces had "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 added that the government was "continuing to pursue every avenue to end the bloodshed in Sudan and ensure the safety of British nationals remaining in the country".

UK forces undertook the military operation alongside "the US, France and other allies", according to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

10:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Dutch military plane leaves Sudan 

A Dutch military plane with evacuees flew from Sudan to Jordan early on Monday, the Dutch foreign ministry said.

People of different nationalities including Dutch nationals were on board the plane, the ministry said.

By Monday morning around 60 Dutch citizens had been able to leave Sudan on the Dutch plane and on flights arranged by other countries, out of a total of around 150 Dutch nationals who have requested evacuation, Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said.

The ministry said it would continue to work on the evacuation of Dutch and other European Union nationals from Sudan.

10:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four more Hungarians leave Sudan 

Four more Hungarians have been evacuated from Sudan, with another six en route to safety, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a Facebook video on Monday.

These numbers came on top of the 14 Hungarian and 48 other nationals who were rescued on Saturday by the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs after they were caught off-shore during a diving excursion by the sudden eruption of the civil-war.

8:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Arab countries swiftly get citizens out of Sudan 

Egypt's military last week evacuated 177 of its soldiers from Sudan. On Sunday the foreign ministry said 436 citizens had left by land.

Over 10,000 Egyptians are thought to live in Sudan.

Jordan on Saturday said it had begun the evacuation of some 300 Jordanian citizens, adding there was the "continuous cooperation with the UAE and Saudi Arabia".

Iraqi embassy staff left Khartoum on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahhaf said, while on Sunday, 14 citizens arrived in Port Sudan.

Lebanon said 60 citizens had also left Khartoum by road, ahead of their evacuation by sea, while 83 Libyans had also reached Port Sudan.

The Tunisian embassy has announced an evacuation operation planned for Monday, with some citizens having already left aboard Saudi ships.

8:58 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Arabia leads evacuation efforts out of Sudan 

Saudi Arabia led the first reported successful evacuations on Saturday, with naval operations picking up more than 150 people including foreign diplomats and officials.

Riyadh announced the "safe arrival" of 91 Saudi citizens and around 66 nationals from 12 other countries - Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada and Burkina Faso.

8:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

China sends a task force to evacuate Chinese nationals 

China's foreign ministry has sent a task force to evacuate Chinese nationals from Sudan and a group of personnel have been safely evacuated to a neighbouring country, the foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Over 1,000 EU citizens evacuated from Sudan

More than 1,000 European Union citizens were evacuated from conflict-hit Sudan over the weekend, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday.

"It has been a complex operation and it has been a successful operation," Borrell told journalists.

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