Time running out for Nigerians trapped in Sudan as rescue efforts remain slow

THOUSANDS of foreigners, including at least 10, 000 Nigerian students and over five million Sudanese of Nigerian origin, have remained trapped in Sudan, Northeastern Africa, a week after intense fighting between two rival forces broke out.

The fighting between the Sudanese armed forces, led by Abdelfattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary force led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, is tearing apart cities and towns across the country, including the capital Khartoum.

Evacuation efforts have been difficult as the airport in the Sudanese capital has been repeatedly targeted.

Respite came on Saturday after some foreign countries like the United States and Saudi Arabia began evacuating their nationals and the Nigerian Government says it is also exploring all avenues to ensure the safe return of its stranded citizens.

The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Ahmed, expressed concern about the safety of Nigerian residents in Sudan, adding that the Agency was coordinating with all relevant partners to constantly evaluate the situation and explore the safest means to rescue those stranded.

“The current emergency in Sudan is very complex with fighting between warring factions going on and all airports and land borders closed.

“The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA is working assiduously with all its partners and is constantly compiling updated information on the situation,” Ahmed said.

The president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Sudan (NANSS), Abubakar Babangida, warned that “any delay would lead to unpredictable casualties”.

More than 330 people have been killed so far in the violent power struggle and at least 3,200 people were injured.

Chairperson and CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has urged all Nigerian students in Sudan as well as Nigerians living in the country to be security conscious and calm.



    Meanwhile, the RSF announced a 72-hour truce on humanitarian grounds, effective from Friday morning, providing the opportunity for countries to evacuate their citizens.

    The Sudanese Army said on Saturday that it would facilitate the evacuation of American, British, Chinese and French citizens, which it considers as “brotherly and friendly”.

    Nigeria-Sudan diplomatic relations were established since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, and both countries have continued to explore ways to deepen cooperation in order to achieve more meaningful growth.

    Earlier in the year, the Sudanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohamed Abdelmannan, said plans were ongoing to establish direct passenger and cargo flights from Khartoum to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital and licence has been issued to a Nigerian carrier, Nissers Sky AirPower, to fly the route.

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