Saudi ship carrying 37 Pakistanis from Sudan arrives in Jeddah

Published April 27, 2023
A grab from video footage released by the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces shows fighters riding in the back of a pickup truck mounted with a turret in the East Nile district of greater Khartoum.—AFP
A grab from video footage released by the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces shows fighters riding in the back of a pickup truck mounted with a turret in the East Nile district of greater Khartoum.—AFP

• Fighting mars shaky truce as ex-dictator Bashir, allies out of jail
• UN warns of acute shortages of food, water, medicines and fuel
• Doctors’ union says 14 hospitals have been shelled, 19 others out of service

ISLAMABAD: A Saudi Arabian ship carrying 1674 individuals, including 37 Pakistani nationals, from embattled Sudan arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday, the Foreign Office announced.

“Evacuation plan for Pakistani nationals in Sudan continues. The ship carrying 37 Pakistani nationals from Port Sudan arrives in Jeddah,” the FO said in a tweet.

“They were received by Consul General in Jeddah, Khalid Majid, on arrival at Jeddah Port. We are grateful to the Government of KSA for its support & hospitality,” it added.

In another statement, the FO said that another convoy of 200 Pakistanis has arrived safely in Port Sudan.

“In continuation of the evacuation efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the directives of the Kingdoms Leadership, several evacuees arrived from the Republic of Sudan to the city of Jeddah today by a Kingdom’s ship, which included 13 Saudi citizens and 1674 individuals,” the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted on its official Twitter account.

“The Kingdom worked to provide all the necessary needs of foreign nationals in preparation for facilitating their departures to their countries, bringing the total number of evacuees from Sudan since the evacuations began to approximately 2148 persons, to include 114 Saudi citizens and 2034 individuals belonging to 62 nationalities,” it said.

Heavy battles rock Sudan

A Sudanese war crimes suspect, part of the Islamist regime ousted in 2019, has escaped jail as heavy battles rock the country, heightening fears for a fragile ceasefire amid new clashes on Wednesday, according to AFP.

Anti-aircraft guns targeted fighter jets over Khartoum’s sister city of Omdurman, witnesses said, after the army launched air strikes against rival paramilitary forces in the capital late Tuesday.

Witnesses also reported “heavy air strikes” in East Nile, east of the capital, on Wednesday, and “a huge explosion in the direction of a paramilitary camp”.

In southern Khartoum, machine gun fire was reported near one of the homes owned by paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who has led the heavily-armed Rapid Support Forces into war with the armed forces, under army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Amid the chaos — which has killed hundreds, sparked a mass flight of terrified foreigners and Sudanese citizens, and deepened a humanitarian crisis — Ahmed Harun, a leading figure of the regime of deposed dictator Omar al-Bashir, said late Tuesday he had escaped prison.

Harun, who led the regime’s infamous counter-insurgency campaign in the western Darfur region in the mid-2000s and is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, said he and others had broken out of the capital’s Kober prison.

The UN said it has “received reports of tens of thousands of people arriving in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan”.

Bashir, 79, who was ousted by the military in 2019 in the wake of mass pro-democracy protests, had himself been held in Kober prison. But the army said he and others had been transferred to a military hospital before fighting erupted “due to their health conditions”, and that they remained under judicial police guard.

The fighting has killed at least 512 people and wounded more than 4,000, according to the health ministry, and reduced some districts of greater Khartoum to ruins.

A UN report warned that “shortages of food, water, medicines and fuel are becoming extremely acute, especially in Khartoum and surrounding areas”. A total of 14 hospitals have been shelled, the doctors’ union said Wednesday, while 19 others are out of service.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2023

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