Three million Nigerians trapped in war torn Sudan Nigerian Embassy staff flee with their families NAF and civil carrier yet to get landing rights in Egypt
Many Nigerians hoping to be evacuated from the conflict unfolding in Sudan had their hopes dashed Friday, when it was learnt that Nigerian Embassy officials in Khartoum who were suppose to provide consular assistance have fled to Egypt.
Sudanese airspace remains close to all except for powerful countries. Air forces from a dozen countries have been using the Wadi Sayidna airbase 20km from Khartoum the capital of Sudan.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) which is celebrating its 59th anniversary next week has been unable to dispatch its three C-130 and its two G-222 transport planes to help in the evacuation due to non availability that a civil air carrier Air Peace had to be called into help but as yet no landing permits have been granted to land in Egypt.
The Nigerian Government had made arrangement for Sudan evacuees to be moved to Cairo by road from where they would join flights back home. But about 5,000 Nigerians are stuck at the Sudanese-Egyptian border due to visa issues.
“There are thousands of people at the borders and as such there will be delays in getting Nigerians into Egypt. the Egyptians are insisting on visas.” A Foreign Ministry source said.
Other flights are currently landing in Egypt and neighbouring countries. But the evacuation process could not continue as officials have reportedly fled Sudan. This led to a protest at the venue of evacuation in Khartoum.
Protesting Nigerians reportedly held one Ibrahim Abdallah, a bureau de change operator ransom, beating him mercilessly. In addition to receiving a cash transfer meant to finance the journey, Abdallah was said to have been involved in bus provision. Abdallah was heard telling the angry evacuees that the amount sent as deposit was $250,000 which has been exhausted.
On Wednesday, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), had said there were at least three million Nigerians in the East African country, but the Federal Government would evacuate as many as it could.
Turkish citizens are being evacuated from Sudan with a military plane A400M belonging to the Turkish Air Force at Wadi Seidna Air Base, due to clashes between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since April 15th, in Khartoum, Sudan on April 28, 2023. © Ali Haydar Akkus/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Dabiri-Erewa did not respond to inquiry on the latest situation in Sudan as she has stopped answering her phone rang and she did not reply to a text message sent.
The spokesperson for NIDCOM, Gabriel Odu, said he did not have the authority to comment on the issue and asked our correspondent to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for comment.
With fighting intensifying despite the extension of another 72 hour ceasefire, the Turkish Defence Ministry said its aircraft was shot up at Wadi Sayidna air base.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said “light weapons were fired” at a C-130 evacuation plane which had been sent to the Wadi Sayidna airbase to evacuate nationals. The ministry added the aircraft had landed safely with no injuries to the crew, but that it required repairs.
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group has denied accusations from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) that it carried out the attack, dismissing the claims as unsupported by any “factual evidence.”
“Our forces have remained strictly committed to the humanitarian truce that we agreed upon since midnight, and it is not true that we targeted any aircraft in the sky of Wadi Sayidna in Omdurman,” the RSF said in a statement.
Foreign troops have secured the Wadi Sayidna airfield, which lies 20km to the north of Khartoum and has been utilized to evacuate citizens from countries such as Germany, the UK, the US, France, and others after violent clashes erupted in Sudan on April 15.
The conflict between the army and the rival paramilitary force, now in its 14th day, has resulted in the deaths of at least 512 people, according to figures released by the Sudanese Health Ministry. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Wednesday that the current number of 3.7 million internally displaced people in Sudan is rapidly increasing.
At least 20,000 Sudanese have fled to Chad, while 4,000 South Sudanese, who are part of the 1.1 million refugees hosted by Sudan from neighboring countries, have been forced to return home, according to the head of the UNHCR, Filippo Grandi.
Akowe with reports from Abuja with materials from Reuters/RT