2023 April 23
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday said the government is working out plans to safely bring out trapped Filipinos from strife-torn Sudan.
In a statement, Marcos said the Philippine government is getting more information on the ground to better prepare and ascertain if an evacuation is possible.
“We have about 300 people in Sudan. Unfortunately, none of the airports are functioning. They are still under fire,” he said.
“We are just waiting to get better information as to whether or not it will be safe to bring our evacuees out of Khartoum, perhaps into Cairo,” the chief executive pointed out.
He explained that there is no identified secure land route yet as the Sudanese capital of Khartoum is hundreds of miles away from Egypt, where the nearest Philippine Embassy is located.
As of Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said at least 86 have requested to be evacuated or repatriated from the country.
According to the World Health Organization, over 400 people have died in the continued conflict in Sudan since the in-fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group began on April 15.
A 72-hour truce has fallen through, according to Anadolu reports, quoting a local doctors association’s announcement on Saturday.
Hospitals continue to be targeted in the conflict as both sides failed to fulfill their commitments under the ceasefire, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said.
An Anadolu correspondent on the ground said the fighting had spread to Bahri and Omdurman, cities adjacent to Khartoum, the CCSD added, noting that clashes had also taken place around the army headquarters and presidential palace.
Both sides accused each other of violating the truce, with the army claiming that the RSF was pushing more forces to Khartoum, while the paramilitary group said the SAF attacked its forces at different locations.
Meanwhile, the evacuation process of foreign diplomats began, with the two warring parties expressing willingness to open the airports.
The SAF said in a statement on Facebook that army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan had received requests from different countries to allow the evacuation of their nationals.
“We are waiting for the process to begin in the coming hours as US, UK, France, and China will provide military planes for the evacuation from Khartoum,” the statement said.
It added that the Saudi diplomatic mission was the first nation to have its citizens evacuated through Port Sudan, adding that Jordan would use the same route.
Kuwait also said Saturday that it had launched an “emergency operation” to evacuate its citizens.
Foreign Minister Sheikh Salim Abdullah al-Jaber al-Sabah said all Kuwaitis who wanted to return to the Gulf country have safely reached the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and that efforts continued to get them to Kuwait.
Joyce Ann Rocamora