Members of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force wave as a transport plane leaves for Djibouti to prepare the evacuation of Japanese citizens from Sudan. The plane arrived in Djibouti on Saturday. Photo by Jiji Press/EPA-EFE
April 22 (UPI) — Sudan’s military said Saturday it will help evacuate foreign nationals from the country as two generals leading different factions of the Sudanese military broke a temporary cease-fire deal.
Army chief Fattah al-Burhan said diplomats and nationals from the United States, Britain, France and China would be evacuated by air after a temporary halt to the fighting marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr broke down, the BBC reported.
The British government is “doing everything possible to support British nationals and diplomatic staff in Khartoum, and working with [the Defense Ministry] to prepare for a number of contingencies,” Minister of State Andrew Mitchell said in a Tweet.
With thousands of foreign nationals trapped by the fighting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and Sudanese Army had agreed to a three-day cease-fire beginning Friday.
But the clashes erupted again Saturday as the sounds of heavy weaponry resumed. The latest fighting has been concentrated around the area of the general command of the army, situated adjacent to the international airport where foreign nationals are gathering to leave, Al Jazeera reported.
There are 16,000 Americans in Sudan, one of whom was killed during the fighting, the U.S. State Department said Friday.
U.S. government personnel are under a strict shelter-in-place order in Sudan and cannot travel within the country, so no emergency consular services can be provided to U.S. citizens in Sudan.
The Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said it had evacuated more than 150 people from Sudan on Saturday, including 91 Saudi Arabian citizens, as well as 66 others, from various other countries.
Meanwhile, Japanese Self-Defense Force aircraft arrived Saturday in the nearby African country of Djibouti to prepare for an evacuation of Japanese nationals from Sudan, according to Japanese national broadcaster NHK.