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Sudan Conflict: Six Things We Know About The Situation Of Stranded Nigerians

As army and paramilitary forces again clashed in Khartoum and across the country, Sudan has seen acute shortages of water, food, medicines and fuel as well as power and internet blackouts. 


This image shows a building damaged during battles between the forces of two rival Sudanese generals in the southern part of Khartoum, on April 23, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
This image shows a building damaged during battles between the forces of two rival Sudanese generals in the southern part of Khartoum, on April 23, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

 

 

With deaths now well over 300 and hundreds injured, Sudan’s crisis is deepening and fears are heightened especially as regards the fate of many Nigerians trapped in the country.

The incarnate desires of two rival generals, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the large and heavily armed paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), have set the nation on fire, in a conflict that threatens to engulf all who are involved.

Both the capital Khartoum and other cities across Sudan have experienced great violence with deafening explosions, air strikes, artillery fire, and intense gunfire, especially in densely packed neighbourhoods.

Their jostle for power seems to know no holds barred. Each general has accused the other of starting the fight, and both have made claims they control key sites, which could not be independently verified.

While the two elephants battle, the grasses are suffering and there are fears that the land might be utterly destroyed, with many innocents killed alongside.

Some of those innocents at the brink of death are foreigners including Nigerians, most of which know nothing of this conflict and have taken no sides, however, they face the danger of being killed by forces from either side.

Very concerning at this moment for Nigeria, is the plight of her citizens, most of who are students trapped in Sudan.

Many reports have been given as regards the whereabouts of these individuals, however, here are six things we know so far.

1. Around 5,000 Nigerians could be looking for evacuation

Authorities on Monday said there is a likelihood that a total of around 5,000 Nigerian nationals could be looking for evacuation.

2. FG Plans to start evacuating 3000 by convoy to Egypt

A top government official said Nigeria plans to start evacuating nearly 3,000 of its nationals, mostly students, from Sudan by convoy to Egypt this week.

Onimode Bandele, special duties director for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told Channels TV the plan was to move about 2,650 to 2,800, including families of embassy staff.

3. Stay indoors/on-campus FG has told students in Sudan

As plans get in motion to evacuate the students, the FG has urged them to remain indoors, especially on their university campuses, to ensure that they do not get in the crossfire within Sudan.

4. Students who left campus must return to their universities 

There were reports that some Nigerian students gathered together and took a bus somewhere yet to be identified. In reaction to this development, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says the students would have to go back to their universities because it is very risky of them, as the military sees them in a convey might think they are members of the opposing forces.

5. Living conditions at the worst

According to the Vice President of External Affairs, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Akinteye Babatunde, the standard of living of Nigerian students in Sudan is quickly deteriorating.

“The rising panic and tension in the state are building up; these students should be evacuated to states where the battle is not too intense,” Babatunde said during Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, on Monday.

He said that “if we are talking about the students’ living conditions in Sudan, it is worse than ever. They can’t go out to get anything, they can’t buy food, they can’t buy provisions, they can’t get anything.

“Some of them hardly feed daily. They can’t do anything, they can’t go out, the network is bad, and the electricity is unstable. They are just hoping and praying, optimistic, and staying indoors. The state capital is where the battles are going on.”

According to him, the living conditions of the students are nothing to write home about.

6. Air Peace Willing To Evacuate Stranded Nigerians

While the government continues to work round the clock to evacuate the students, Air Peace says it is willing to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Sudan free of charge as fierce fighting continues to rage in Khartoum.

The Chairman of  Nigeria’s largest domestic airline, Allen Onyema, said he is compelled to help because Nigeria cannot afford to lose her citizens in that country, adding that it would be his own commitment to making sure that the stranded Nigerians in the war-torn country are safe.

He said that everything must not be left to the government alone, especially as the situation calls for urgency and immediate action.

Since fighting erupted on Sunday, at least 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 wounded, according to UN agencies, which also reported Sudanese civilians fleeing areas affected by fighting, including Chad, Egypt, and South Sudan.

Foreign nations pushed on Monday with frantic evacuations of their citizens from the chaos-torn country where heavy fighting has raged for a 10th day between forces loyal to two rival generals.

As the army and paramilitary forces again clashed in Khartoum and across the country, the UN says terrified Sudanese have endured acute shortages of water, food, medicines, and fuel as well as power and internet blackouts.