Saudi Arabia announces safe evacuation of Indians from Sudan days after Jaishankar’s call

Violence broke out in Sudan last Saturday as tensions escalated between the army and the country’s paramilitary forces. Reuters Photo.

New Delhi: A group of Indians are among 66 people of 12 nations who have been successfully evacuated from conflict-hit Sudan to Saudi Arabia, the Saudi foreign ministry announced late on Saturday. A ship carrying Saudi citizens and the other nationals reached Jeddah safely, in the first evacuation of civilians since the conflict began.

Marking the first instance of civilians being rescued from the conflict zone, the evacuation comes barely a few days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on Tuesday.

“In the implementation of the directives of the Kingdom’s Leadership, we are pleased to announce the safe arrival of the evacuated citizens of the Kingdom from Sudan and several nationals of brotherly and friendly countries, including diplomats and international officials,” the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted.

Among those who have reached Jeddah are the crew of a Saudi passenger aircraft that was hit by gunfire while preparing to take off from Khartoum at the beginning of the fighting on April 15, news agency AFP reported.

The evacuation was carried out by the kingdom’s naval forces with the support of other branches of the army, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

A convoy of vehicles helped the evacuees to reach Port Sudan from where they boarded ships to Jeddah, according to media reports.

The nationals from various countries were received by officials and soldiers who distributed sweets due to the festival of Eid.

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

The former allies seized power in a 2021 coup but later got involved in a bitter power struggle. The conflict which has taken place in and around the capital Khartoum – has left hundreds dead and thousands wounded.

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