France starts evacuation of citizens from Sudan

Violence in the country has left at least 420 dead and 3,700 injured, according to the World Health Organization

By AFP

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Sun 23 Apr 2023, 10:45 AM

France has begun to evacuate its citizens and diplomatic staff from Sudan, where fighting between rival forces has entered its second week, the foreign ministry announced Sunday.

The ministry said it had kicked off the "rapid evacuation operation" and that European citizens and those from "allied partner countries" would also be assisted, without giving further details.

A diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the Sudan armed forces and their rivals, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, had "given guarantees of security" to allow the operation.

The same source said there were about 250 French citizens living in Sudan.

The US military has also begun evacuating embassy staff from Khartoum, President Joe Biden said Saturday as he called for an end to the "unconscionable" violence.

The fighting between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan's forces and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) began on April 15 over a dispute on the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army.

The move was a key condition for a deal aimed at restoring Sudan's democratic transition after the military toppled former leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 following mass citizen protests.

The two men had joined forces to oust a civilian government installed after Bashir's downfall, before turning on each other.

The violence has left at least 420 dead and 3,700 injured, according to the World Health Organization.

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