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Foreign Ministry Instructs Egyptians In Sudan on Evacuation, Reveals Embassy Member Injured

April 23, 2023
Smoke rises in Omdurman, near Halfaya Bridge, during clashes between the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army as seen from Khartoum North, Sudan April 15, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Smoke rises in Omdurman, near Halfaya Bridge, during clashes between the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army as seen from Khartoum North, Sudan April 15, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on 23 April, instructing Egyptian citizens residing in Sudan to evacuate the country in light of the ongoing armed conflict taking place there. A further statement revealed that a member of the Egyptian embassy has received a gunshot wound.

According to the first statement, citizens residing outside of Khartoum should head to the nearest specified meeting point in preparation for their evacuation from Sudan. The meeting points are the Egyptian Consulate at Port Sudan, and the consular office at Wadi Halfa.

As for Egyptians in Khartoum, the Foreign Ministry advised staying indoors “until the security situation in the capital improves” to allow for procedure in line with the general evacuation plan.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abouzeid, one of the members of Egypt’s embassy in Sudan suffered a gunshot wound, however the seriousness of the injury is not made clear in the statement.

Published on the Foreign Ministry’s social media accounts, the statement further quoted Abouzeid explaining that the evacuation procedure for an expat community as large as Egypt’s in Sudan needs careful and organized planning, especially considering the escalation of risks to safety. The spokesperson then confirmed that a member of the embassy was shot.

Abouzeid added that the beliefs and work ethics ingrained in Egyptian diplomats means they will be the last to leave the field, citing Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine as examples of successful evacuation.

Egypt’s armed forces had announced on April 20 that the group of Egyptian troops that were on Sudanese soil when the conflict began had been evacuated. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had coordinated with his Indian and Dutch counterparts, Foreign Ministers Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Wopke Hoekstra, Egypt’s contribution to the protection of Indian and Dutch nationals in Sudan.

Citizens can reach the Egyptian Consulate in Port Sudan through this number: 00249906398621 and the consular office at Wadi Halfa through these numbers: 00249118162679 or 00249116604033.

What is happening in Sudan?

Since Saturday, 15 April, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) — a paramilitary group that operated as a militia during the height of the Darfur conflict but was recently incorporated with the formal military — have been engaged in combat.

On the first day of the fighting, a video surfaced of a number of Egyptian soldiers in Merowe with members of the RSF. The spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces stated that they were in Sudan to conduct joint training with their Sudanese counterparts.

The Egyptian Armed Forces spokesperson explained in a statement on 20 April that all necessary coordination was carried out with the Sudanese authorities to land three transport aircraft from the Egyptian Armed Forces in a Sudanese airbase to carry out the evacuation in a fully safe manner. This was followed by the takeoff of three aircrafts in three successive flights, which carried the majority of the members of the Egyptian force to an Egyptian military base in Cairo.

The Egyptian troops had arrived at the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Khartoum as a result of the coordination that was carried out with concerned Sudanese parties, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

They are currently all back on Egyptian soil.

On Tuesday, 18 April, Egypt’s National airline EgyptAir announced the suspension of flights to and from the Sudanese capital Khartoum indefinitely. A suspension of flights was initially announced on Saturday, 15 April for a period of 72 hours following the eruption of conflict.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called for an immediate ceasefire in Sudan and urged opposing forces to prioritise dialogue and national consensus while upholding the interests of the Sudanese people.

An emergency meeting of the Arab League Council at the level of permanent representatives kicked off on Sunday, 16 April, in Cairo, to discuss Sudan’s ongoing armed conflict. The meeting was held at the request of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Tensions between the RSF and the SAF have been rising for months, but their roots go as far back as the days of former Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019. Under Al-Bashir’s rule, the RSF was formed in 2003 from a number of militias, which played a role in the conflict that raged in the Sudanese region of Darfur for decades. Later Bashir put the RSF under the authority of the SAF in 2017, while maintaining its autonomy and separate command structure.

However, the rising of the current tensions can be traced back to an internationally backed deal was proposed late last year, to put Sudan back on track to democratic transition and a return to civilian rule. This deal was brokered by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Nations, and the United States.

A key condition to this deal taking effect is the merging of the RSF with Sudan’s formal military, a condition the RSF has been resisting.

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