Why we can’t evacuate Nigerians trapped in Sudan — FG

THE Federal Government will not be able to evacuate Nigerians trapped in Sudan due to the risks involved in flight operations in the country.

Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Chairperson, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday, April 21.

According to her, the Commission, in collaboration with the Nigerian Mission in Sudan and the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA), made arrangements for the evacuation of Nigerians trapped in the country.

However, it is risky for any flight to operate whilst the war is ongoing, she explained.

The ICIR earlier reported that non-adherence to calls for ceasefire by the warring parties — the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – had made it difficult for the Federal Government to evacuate Nigerians in Sudan.

Dabiri-Erewa stated that aircrafts parked at the airport in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, were burnt on Thursday morning.

“Nigerian Mission in Sudan and NEMA have put in place arrangements to evacuate Nigerian students and other Nigerian citizens stranded in Sudan. The tense situation makes it gravely risky and impossible for any flight at this point. Aircrafts parked at the airport in the country were burnt yesterday morning,” she said in a statement signed by Gabriel Odu of the Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit of NIDCOM, on Friday.

She also noted that there are efforts by humanitarian groups to get food, water and medicals across to people affected by the conflict.

Dabiri-Erewa urged the “fighting parties to consider the Juba Peace Agreement enunciated by Intergovernmental Authority on Development, as fundamental mechanism for the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the country”.

Nigeria and Sudan have had a close relationship since 1960. About 10,000 Nigerian students are studying in the country, and thousands of other Nigerians are engaged in businesses in the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said more than 400 people have been killed and over 3,500 others hurt due to the civil unrest in Sudan.

The United Nations public health agency also disclosed at least 11 attacks on health facilities had been recorded in the country since the war broke out. 

At a press briefing in Geneva on Friday, April 21, the WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said: “413 have died and 3,551 people have been injured that we know of.”

“The war has not only affected the people who have been injured during this terrible fighting but the people who needed treatment before. It is also taking a devastating toll on the country’s children,” she added.

Also speaking on the crisis in Sudan, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said at least nine children have been killed and more than 50 wounded.

He warned that the fighting has put the lives of Sudanese children suffering from malnutrition at risk.

“Sudan already has one of the highest rates of malnutrition among children in the world,” Elder told reporters. “And now critical life-saving care for an estimated 50,000 severely acutely malnourished children has been disrupted. This is life threatening.”

Among those affected by the conflict are hundreds of Nigerians, including students, living in the country. The students have appealed to the Federal Government to evacuate them.



    However, the refusal of the two sides to embrace calls for ceasefire has made it difficult to evacuate Nigerians trapped in Sudan.

    Two men are at the heart of the clashes: Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

    The duo have been allies until recently. They had worked together to topple the ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and played a pivotal role in the military coup in 2021.

    However, the tension began during negotiations to integrate the RSF into the country’s military as part of plans to restore civilian rule. The clash between the duo and their loyalists is considered a struggle for dominance in Sudan.

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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