The Kenyan government, in collaboration with neighboring countries, has initiated a rescue operation to evacuate its citizens trapped in Sudan, where violent conflict continues to escalate.
Dr. Alfred Mutua, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, announced on Monday that up to 400 Kenyan nationals who have registered for evacuation will be safely brought back to their homeland. The complex rescue plan will employ both land and air transportation, traversing at least four countries.
“We are deeply grateful to South Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for allowing Kenyan aircraft to fly through their airspace as we work to evacuate our citizens in Sudan,” Dr. Mutua expressed in appreciation of the international cooperation.
The Kenya Air Force is spearheading the operation in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, which has developed three distinct evacuation strategies.
In the first phase, the Kenyan government has already facilitated the return of 29 students, who traveled by road to Ethiopia. Dr. Mutua detailed the journey, stating, “They are en route to Gondor, from where they will fly to Addis Ababa and then onto Nairobi.”
The majority of Kenyans awaiting evacuation are students residing in Khartoum, a testament to Sudan’s recent emergence as a higher education hub for many East African nations.
In the second phase, a Kenya Air Force aircraft is scheduled to airlift an additional 18 students, who are currently traveling by road to the South Sudanese border.
The third and most extensive plan, according to the Cabinet Secretary, involves a “well-planned program of travel” for a large group of Kenyans. They will fly from Port Sudan to Jeddah on two separate aircraft before continuing on to Nairobi via Kenya Airways. “We estimate that we will transport between 300 and 400 Kenyans in this manner, if not more,” Dr. Mutua said.
Now in its 10th day, Sudan’s conflict rages on between the forces of army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitaries, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. According to the World Health Organization, as reported by the AFP news agency, the violence has resulted in a minimum of 420 fatalities and 3,700 injuries.
With the fighting extending from Khartoum to other regions of Sudan, thousands of foreigners, including diplomats, staff, and aid workers, remain stranded and in peril.