Monday April 18, 2023
The Somali government is making plans to evacuate its citizens from Sudan if the fighting between rival forces there escalates.
“We are discussing, in case there is an evacuation, how they could be moved out of this country,” Mohamed Sheikh Isak, the Somali ambassador to Sudan, told VOA on Monday.
“There are no planes. There is a plan we are working on which is, if we cannot evacuate them through the airports, to rent buses and move them out of the city, and take them to the neighboring countries in South Sudan and Ethiopia.”
As fighting raged Monday in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, Somali students expressed fear for their safety. In an interview with VOA, one of the students appealed to the Somali government to be evacuated.
Hayat Aden, a student at Khartoum’s International University of Africa, said gunfire in the city is terrifying the residents. Aden said she hopes the fighting will subside.
“The gunfire is ongoing now…We, the Somali students appeal to the Somali government to assist us immediately, in returning us to our country. We can’t continue to stay like this,” said Aden.
Another student, Hassan Nor Ali, said they ran out of food and supplies, and water and electricity have stopped running.
“In terms of living conditions there is no supermarket or a shop open,” he said. “You cannot get basic services like food. Water and electricity are shut off. You can imagine someone with no water and electricity in a hot country, during the Ramadan,” said Ali.
Ali said there is “a lot of fear” as fighter jets fly over the city. He said educational institutions have closed.
Ambassador Isak, who is currently in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, estimated that up to 3,000 Somalis are living in Sudan, many of them students.
He told VOA that the foreign affairs ministry has set up an online registration form for Somalis in Sudan and created a WhatsApp group to keep Somali citizens informed about the situation.
Isak said any movement and possible evacuation of citizens would depend on conditions on the ground.
The fighting between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces continued Monday, taking the lives of nearly 100 people according to news agencies.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud urged rival sides in Sudan to come together and resolve their differences through peaceful and constructive dialogue. The rival sides are locked in a power struggle.