How countries are extracting foreigners from Sudan

Monday April 24 2023

French and other nationalities embark at French military air base in Khartoum to fly to Djibouti on April 23, 2023 during the "Sagittaire" evacuation of around 100 people from Sudan on the first French flight out of the war-hit country in this handout photograph taken and released by the Etat Major des Armees (French defence staff). PHOTO | AFP | ETAT MAJOR DES ARMEES


Battles raging in Sudan have sparked multiple evacuation operations to rescue foreign citizens or embassy staff by road, air and sea.

The main airport in the capital Khartoum has been the site of heavy fighting and is under the control of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that is fighting the army.

Some evacuations are taking place from Port Sudan on the Red Sea, an 850-kilometre drive from Khartoum.

Here is an overview of what various nations have done in efforts to take stranded citizens to safety.

Read: Sudan conflict: What worries neighbours

Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia led the first reported successful evacuations on Saturday, with naval operations picking up more than 150 people including foreign diplomats and officials.

Riyadh announced the “safe arrival” of 91 Saudi citizens and around 66 nationals from 12 other countries -- Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada and Burkina Faso.

United States and Canada

On Sunday, the US military sent three Chinook helicopters to evacuate American embassy staff from Khartoum.

More than 100 US forces took part in the rescue to extract fewer than 100 people, which saw the choppers flying from Djibouti to Khartoum, where they stayed on the ground for less than an hour.

US officials have warned that any wider effort to evacuate American citizens is unlikely in the coming days.

Canada has also pulled its embassy team out, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Also read: Foreign hidden hands as Sudan generals battle

Britain, Norway, Switzerland

The British army has evacuated UK embassy staff and their families in a “complex and rapid” operation, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said. British citizens still trapped in Sudan have been calling on social media for help.

The Norwegian ambassador said he other Norwegian diplomats had also been evacuated.

The Swiss foreign ministry said seven embassy staff and five others were evacuated with the help of other countries.

European Union nations

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday that 1,000 EU citizens had been evacuated.

Two French planes landed in Djibouti on Sunday with a total of 200 people of multiple nationalities.

On board were 25 Swedish citizens, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Monday, including foreign ministry staff and aid workers.

The Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said a “handful” of Dutch people had been evacuated on a French aircraft, with another group leaving Khartoum by road in a UN convoy.


A convoy leaving Khartoum advances on a road towards Port Sudan, on April 23, 2023, as people flee the battle-torn Sudanese capital. PHOTO | ABUBAKARR JALLOH | AFP

Italy evacuated around 200 people in a military operation on Sunday, including all Italian citizens who “had asked to leave” and other nationalities, including representatives of the Vatican.

The Greek foreign ministry said a first group of evacuees departed “with the assistance of France” on Sunday, and a further 10 nationals and their families departed in the Italian operation.

Berlin said it had airlifted 300 people using three planes -- including Germans and other nationalities -- following an aborted attempt on Wednesday.

A Spanish military plane with 100 passengers -- 30 Spanish and 70 other nationalities -- left Sunday for Djibouti, Madrid said.

The Irish government is deploying 12 defence personnel to Djibouti to help evacuate 150 citizens in Sudan.

Also read: Thousands flee battle-scarred Khartoum


Ankara began operations at dawn on Sunday, taking some of its estimated 600 nationals by road from two Khartoum districts and the southern city of Wad Madani.

But plans were postponed from one site in Khartoum after “explosions” near a mosque designated as the assembly area, the embassy said.

Arab nations

Egypt’s military last week evacuated 177 of its soldiers from Sudan. On Sunday the foreign ministry said 436 citizens had left by land. Over 10,000 Egyptians are thought to live in Sudan.

Jordan on Saturday said it had begun the evacuation of some 300 Jordanian citizens, adding it engaged in “continuous cooperation with the UAE and Saudi Arabia”.

Iraqi embassy staff left Khartoum on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahhaf said, while on Sunday, 14 citizens arrived in Port Sudan.

Lebanon said 52 citizens who had travelled by road from Khartoum to Port Sudan had boarded a Saudi naval vessel on Monday.

Libya said Monday that 105 citizens would be flown home from Jeddah after being evacuated by the Saudi navy.

The Tunisian embassy has announced an evacuation operation planned for Monday, with some citizens having already left aboard Saudi ships.



Indonesian nationals are evacuated by bus from Khartoum to Port Sudan on April 23, 2023. PHOTO | AFP | INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

The Philippines said Monday it would begin evacuating nearly 700 Filipinos “within the next 24 hours”, having contracted buses heading to Egypt.

Japan and South Korea have deployed forces to nearby countries and are preparing for evacuations, while Japanese media is reporting some nationals were onboard the French aircraft.

India’s foreign ministry said two air force planes are “on standby” in Saudi Arabia and a naval ship has arrived in Port Sudan.

The Sudanese army has said it is also coordinating efforts to evacuate diplomats from China.

Indonesia said 43 citizens were sheltering inside the embassy compound in Khartoum.