Thousands of Asian citizens being evacuated from Sudan as cease-fire expires on Thursday night
By Islamuddin Sajid
ANKARA (AA) - Several Asian countries have evacuated thousands of their nationals from Sudan during a 72-hour cease-fire between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The cease-fire that went into effect at midnight on Tuesday local time (2200GMT Monday), was the latest attempt to stop the fighting, which first erupted on April 15.
Pakistan has evacuated 700 of its citizens out of the approximately 1,500 people stranded in Sudan.
"Alhamdulillah (with Allah's blessings), another convoy of 200 Pakistanis has arrived safely in Port Sudan," the Pakistan Foreign Ministry tweeted on Wednesday, adding that its embassy will continue to facilitate their stay and make arrangements for their eventual return to their homeland.
Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that his ministry has evacuated 700 people and will continue to lead in the relief and rescue of Pakistanis in Sudan.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that all 30 of its nationals have arrived safely in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
"All 30 Malaysians and 22 other foreign nationals who traveled from Khartoum with the Malaysian convoy were evacuated to Jeddah from Port Sudan by KSA Navy vessel H.M.S Abha," the ministry said, adding that all the Malaysian evacuees are in good health.
Malaysian Ambassador to Sudan Mohamad Razdan Jamil also arrived safely at the King Faisal Naval Base in Jeddah on Wednesday night, it added.
Separately, Indonesia said on Thursday that it has evacuated hundreds of its nationals from Sudan, with over 667 of them arriving in Jeddah.
"557 Indonesian citizens evacuated in phase I have arrived in Jeddah. 328 Indonesian citizens in phase II evacuation have arrived in the city of Port Sudan. The total number of Indonesian citizens who have been evacuated from Khartoum is 897 people," the Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter.
- India, South Korea, Philippine evacuate their nationals
The first batch of 360 Indians from crisis-torn Sudan arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday evening as part of "Operation Kaveri," according to the Indian Foreign Ministry.
During the 72-hour cease-fire, the Philippines also safely evacuated 409 Filipinos from Sudan to neighboring Egypt.
There were approximately 740 Filipinos in Sudan, the majority of them were professionals, farm or agricultural workers, students, and household service workers, the Philippine News Agency said, citing a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
South Korea evacuated 28 of its citizens on Tuesday and flew them to Seoul in a military plane.
"We were in a very confusing situation with much fear,” Yonhap News Agency reported, quoting an evacuee, who added that they appreciate the military's help.
"I hope that peace will return and the fighting in Sudan will stop," he said.
- Australia asks citizens to leave Sudan
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has called on her country's citizens to leave Sudan before the cease-fire expires on Thursday night.
"Australians in Sudan can access several flights operated by partner countries today (27 April) from Wadi Sayyidna airfield north of Khartoum. The 72-hour ceasefire ends tonight and further flights after that cannot be guaranteed," Wong tweeted.
She added that they are working with partners to secure evacuations, as more than 60 Australians have now safely left Sudan.
"Australians wishing to depart should strongly consider leaving as soon as possible. If you cannot make it to Wadi Sayyidna, ferries are departing from Port Sudan to Jeddah. The security situation remains dangerous. Consider the risks for any departure route carefully," the top diplomat said.