Nigeria struggles to evacuate about 3,500 citizens from Sudan

Tuesday May 02 2023
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari who on May 1, 2023 urged Egyptian authorities to allow Nigerian evacuees from Sudan to cross the border. PHOTO | AUDU MARTE | AFP


Nigeria's government on Tuesday sought to overcome problems hampering the evacuation of around 3,000 of its nationals from Sudan, where rival military factions are battling for control.

A first convoy of 13 buses left Sudan's capital Khartoum on Thursday for the Egyptian border with a plan to fly on Friday to Nigeria, but the group was refused permission to cross the frontier.

"Egyptian authorities on Monday agreed to let the evacuees cross after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari intervened," the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission said in a statement on Twitter.

Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) confirmed the group were already in Egypt but could not give details on when they would be flown home.

Another 20 buses prepared to evacuate hundreds more Nigerians were still blocked in Sudan.

That convoy would no longer travel to Egypt, but to Port Sudan, a city located on the Red Sea, 675 kilometres (420 miles) from Khartoum, from where they should then be flown back to Nigeria, NEMA spokesman Manzo Ezekiel told AFP on Tuesday. 


According to Nigerian authorities, the evacuation plan is for more than 3,500 nationals but their total number could be greater. Many of the Nigerians in Sudan are students. 

Sudan was plunged into fighting on April 15 between two generals who have been in charge of the country since a military coup in 2021. 

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdane Daglo had agreed to extend a three-day ceasefire. 

However, Khartoum was shaking with air raids, shooting and explosions again on Monday.