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U.S. evacuates diplomatic personnel from Sudan
09:42 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Foreign powers have rescued embassy staff, diplomats and nationals caught in Sudan’s deadly fighting, even as on the ground many Sudanese are stuck in deteriorating and deadly conditions.

At least 50 people were injured and an unknown number killed in shelling that rocked the capital Khartoum on Monday, the Preliminary Committee of Sudan Doctors’ Union said in a statement.

Meanwhile foreign governments led rescue efforts to evacuate civilians from the intense conflict. US special forces helped bring almost 100 people – mostly US embassy staff, as well as a small number of diplomatic professionals from other countries – to safety over the weekend, US officials said.

Many other nations are scrambling to do the same, with more than 1,000 European Union nationals evacuated so far.

The United Nations has temporarily relocated its Khartoum-based staff to Port of Sudan, it said in a statement.

Around 700 UN, international NGO and embassy staff and their dependents traveled by road to the Red Sea city, the statement said.

The evacuations have been complicated by ongoing clashes. The two sides at the center of more than a week of fighting – Sudan’s army and a paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – blamed each other after a French evacuation convoy came under fire trying to leave Sudan, with one French national injured.

Smoke rises over Khartoum over the weekend. The fighting in Sudan's capital between the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces resumed after an internationally brokered cease-fire failed.
Germany carries out evacuations of citizens out of Sudan.

An Egyptian diplomat, Mohamed Al-Gharawi, was shot and killed on his way back to the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum on Monday following “evacuation procedures for Egyptian citizens in Sudan,” Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The Sudanese Armed Forces accused RSF for the death, which CNN has been unable to independently verify.

The RSF responded by offering their sincerest condolences to the Egyptian government and said that they will “spare no effort in cooperating with the brothers in the Republic of Egypt to uncover the facts about the Gharawi incident.”

Meanwhile, many Sudanese civilians are either trapped in their homes with dwindling food, or desperately looking to find exit routes out of the country via its land borders, with the capital’s main international airport still shuttered.

Sudan’s military leader, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, and commander of the RSF, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, seized control of the country in a military coup in 2021 and were due to hand over power to a civilian government but turned on each other instead.

More than 420 people have been killed and 3,700 injured in the fighting, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The humanitarian situation on the ground is deteriorating without access to medical services, and with many left stranded without food or water.

A series of ceasefires, including the latest called for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, have been broken. On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the warring factions had agreed on a new 72-hour ceasefire to begin at midnight, “following intense negotiation over the past 48 hours.”

Residents in parts of Khartoum told CNN early on Sunday morning that there were no signs that the cessation of hostilities was being adhered to, as they awoke to aerial attacks, heavy artillery, explosions and gunfire. They relayed that clashes were raging around the military headquarters and presidential palace in the city center.

‘Complex and rapid’ operations

Despite the risks, foreign governments continue to announce rescue missions for their citizens.

French Foreign Minister spokesman Anne-Claire Legendre told CNN’s Isa Soares on Monday that France evacuated approximately 500 people including almost 200 of them from 36 other countries.

Legendre said, “We’ve evacuated approximately 500 people. Now they’re safe and in security in Djibouti in our air force base there,” and added “We offered support to our friendly partners and allies. And there’s more than 36 nationalities, different nationalities that have been rescued, so almost 200 people from 36 other countries that we managed to evacuate.”

France evacuated “12 American citizens as well as British, Irish but also from Africa, Asia and rest of the world,” Legendre pointed out.