American diplomats and their families have been evacuated from Sudan as fighting between rival factions has intensified.
Reuters reports that the process involved half a dozen aircraft, and was “carried out in coordination with” the Rapid Support Forces. According to earlier reporting, 70 personnel were to be evacuated — though many Americans remain in Sudan.
“The State Department acknowledges that some records show 16,000 US citizens may be in Sudan, but officials consider those figures to be inflated,” CBS News reports.
New: Elements of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six and the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group participated in the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, sources tell me. https://t.co/yUc4dK0ZvW
— Jim LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) April 23, 2023
“Other foreign nationals began evacuating from a Red Sea port in Sudan on Saturday,” Reuters noted, adding that the urban warfare has made exiting the nation increasingly difficult, leaving many stranded in the capital city of Khartoum.
On Thursday, National Security spokesman John Kirby spoke at a White House press briefing, during which he discussed the increasingly dangerous conditions in Sudan, specifically in Khartoum.
“The focus right now is on urging both sides to stop this violence, to abide by a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to get to people that are — that are — that need it,” Kirby said. “I mean, there’s already shortages of food; there’s concern over shortages of medicine and water. The situation is dire in Khartoum. And we continue to urge both sides now to stop this violence.”
Multiple other nations have either pulled citizens out of Sudan or are planning evacuations, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Evacuations are exceedingly challenging as both sides involved in the conflict have failed to observe ceasefire agreements reached in order to allow for safe passage.
CBS News reports that over 400 people have been killed in the conflict since April 15.
President Joe Biden released a statement regarding the operation to extricate the embassy personnel from Sudan, thanking service members, as well as the nations of Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia for their apparent assistance.
The president went on to condemn the ongoing violence.
“We are temporarily suspending operations at the U.S. Embassy in Sudan, but our commitment to the Sudanese people and the future they want for themselves is unending,” the statement concluded.