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Sudan fighting: Canadian diplomats to be evacuated

Smoke is seen in Khartoum, Sudan on April 22, 2023. The fighting in the capital between the Sudanese Army and Rapid Support Forces resumed after an internationally brokered cease-fire failed. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

Global Affairs Canada stated on Sunday that Canadian diplomats in Sudan are to be evacuated due to escalating violence between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

In addition, the statement clarified that the Canadian diplomats will continue their work from a secure location outside of Sudan while keeping in touch with the Sudanese government, neighboring nations, and the global community. All parties will collaborate to develop a synchronized approach to support Canadian citizens who are still within Sudan's territory.

Global Affairs Canada has reported that 1,596 Canadians are known to be in Sudan, but the actual number may be higher since registration is voluntary.

Recently, The New York Times reported that U.S. special forces evacuated 6 Canadian diplomats and 70 American diplomats. In contrast, the BBC reported that some Canadians were among a group of individuals who were evacuated by sea to Saudi Arabia. However, Global Affairs Canada has not yet confirmed these reports.

On Sunday, the United States and the United Kingdom announced they had evacuated their diplomats. Additionally, France, Germany, and Italy are among several other countries that have begun organizing evacuations as of Sunday.

According to US authorities, fewer than 100 individuals were airlifted on Sunday morning using three Chinook helicopters in a swift and efficient operation.

The US embassy in Khartoum has now been closed, and a tweet from its official feed has stated that the situation is too hazardous for the government to evacuate private US citizens.

The UK government has also managed to evacuate British diplomats and their families through a "complex and rapid" operation, as Foreign Minister James Cleverly noted that options for evacuating the remaining British nationals in Sudan were "severely limited."

Several other countries were also conducting evacuation operations on Sunday:

On Saturday, other countries also conducted successful evacuations. Over 150 individuals, mainly citizens of Gulf countries, as well as Egypt, Pakistan, and Canada, were evacuated by sea to the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah.

In addition, reports indicate that internet connectivity has virtually collapsed in Sudan, which could severely impede the coordination of assistance for those trapped in Khartoum and other cities.

The power struggle has resulted in an intense bombing in the capital city, with hundreds killed and thousands more injured. Many foreign students, from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, who are also stranded in Khartoum, a city of approximately six million people, have made desperate appeals for help. The UN has warned that up to 20,000 people - mostly women and children - have fled Sudan to seek safety in Chad, across the border from Darfur.

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