Nigeria Begins Airlift
Nigerian Air Force C-130 and Air Peace Boeing 777 to bring back 400 Nigerians from Sudan while Russia completes its evacuation
Two Nigerian aircraft are at the Aswan Airport in Egypt awaiting the arrival of Nigerians stuck at the Egyptian border. On Tuesday, Air Peace announced that it has dispatched a Boeing 777 to Aswan.
“Our wide-body Boeing 777 with Registration Number 5N-BVE took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, at 15:10hrs today to Egypt to airlift stranded Nigerians consequent upon the ongoing crisis in Sudan.” It said.
Nura Rimi, Nigerian ambassador to Egypt said that the first batch of stranded Nigerians has been moved from the Sudanese side to the Egyptian side of the border.
Rimi, who said this on Tuesday noted that Nigerians are now being prepared for their departure to Abuja through Aswan Airport.
The Egyptian authorities had not opened its border with Sudan for the students, six days after their arrival.
However, giving updates on the evacuees, Rimi said, “#TeamCairo has successfully moved our students from the Sudanese side to the Egyptian side of the Arqeel border.
“Priority was given to female students in the orderly movement of the 449 students across the border.
“The students are now being prepared for their departure to Abuja through Aswan Airport.
“With the arrival of Air Peace and the NAF Plane, the onward journey home begins soon after necessary documentation.”
The two Nigerian planes will airlift 400 passengers out of the expected thousands of Nigerians waiting to escape.
A second batch of thousands of stranded Nigerians evacuated from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan arrived in Port Sudan on Tuesday for possible airlifting to Nigeria.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa the chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) criticised for her actions in separating stranded Nigerians by state of origin which led to some Igbos from the south east region being abandoned, was reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She denied that the fleeing Nigerians were separated by state of origins despite unverified videos of Nigerians on social media lamenting abandonment by the Buhari administration.
Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Sudan Andrey Chernovol told Russian media on Tuesday that Ukrainian citizens numbered among the evacuees airlifted from turmoil-ridden Sudan by Russian Aerospace Forces’ aircraft.
The Russian Ministry of Defence on Tuesday confirmed that it has completed its evacuation from Sudan.
“More than 200 people evacuated from Sudan have arrived in Moscow,” the statement reads. “The evacuation mission involved military transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces,” the ministry added.
According to the statement, Russian embassy personnel, Defense Ministry officials and their family members, Russian nationals and citizens of other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations and a number of friendly countries who had requested repatriation assistance, were evacuated from Sudan based on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision.
The Defense Ministry said earlier that the evacuation mission involved four Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
The situation in Sudan escalated amid disagreements between the army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who also heads the ruling Sovereignty Council, and the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as Hemedti), who is al-Burhan’s deputy on the council.
The main points of contention between the two military organisations pertain to the timeline and methods for unifying the armed forces of Sudan, as well as who should be appointed as commander-in-chief of the army: a career military officer, which is al-Burhan’s preferred option, or an elected civilian president, as Dagalo insists.
On April 15, armed clashes between the rival military factions erupted near a military base in Merowe and in the capital, Khartoum. According to the country’s Health Ministry, several hundred people have been killed in the country since the conflict broke out.
Akowe with reports from Abuja and materials from the Russian news agency TASS