France evacuated nearly 400 people from Sudan

Already at least 400 French and foreign nationals evacuated from Sudan by the French authorities. A second French plane landed in Djibouti on Sunday evening, the French Foreign Ministry announced. This second plane had “a hundred people on board”, “French nationals but also of third nationalities, in particular European”, declared a spokesperson for the Quai d’Orsay. According to a Djiboutian airport source, a first plane carrying 106 passengers had already landed at the end of the afternoon in Djibouti.

“These rotations made it possible to evacuate 388 people, including French nationals who wished to do so, as well as a significant number of citizens of other countries, particularly European ones (Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland) but also African (South Africa, Burundi, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Uganda, Rwanda Sudan), America (United States, Canada) and Asia (India, Japan, Philippines)”, details the ministry in a press release.

A “volatile situation”

Asked about shootings against a convoy which, according to some media, injured a Frenchman, sources at the French ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Armed Forces declared that they did not “want to comment on this kind of rumour” when “the operation is not over “. “We wouldn’t have done it if we hadn’t had security guarantees from the belligerents, which have been reiterated and reiterated,” they said. The operation, named “Sagittaire”, is “extremely complex” and “may lead to difficulties all the way” in a country at war where, moreover, the “networks are no longer functional”, while precise geolocation of nationals is necessary, they added.

Some 150 soldiers are mobilized, “elements of protection, others of reconnaissance, logistical support and medical personnel”, in a “volatile situation”, where the two sides “continue to wage war, even during the truces” , according to the general staff of the French armies. Reconnaissance operations are carried out to “secure” as much as possible the routes taken by the civilians, who have been grouped together upstream, to get to an airport in the Khartoum region, said this source. Among the countries that have requested the help of France to evacuate their citizens, the diplomatic source has listed Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Niger, Morocco, Egypt, or even the Ethiopia, without specifying whether these nationals were on either plane.

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Rescued “psychologically weakened”

After more than a week of fighting between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, Sudan’s de facto ruler, and his deputy-turned-rival, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, who commands the much feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces ( FSR), people who arrived at the airport were “tired, tense, but very relieved to have arrived safely”, according to French sources. They are “psychologically weakened by what they have been through” but in relatively good physical condition, while food, water and energy are lacking in the capital Khartoum, from the same sources.

In addition to the air option, the French authorities had considered an evacuation by land, which was finally ruled out given the difficulties of refueling in particular that it would have caused. Four planes had been prepositioned for a few days in Djibouti and other means are on standby in Chad for the operation, according to the staff. Maritime means have also been deployed off the Sudanese coast “for all practical purposes”, it was further specified.

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