Drone-Escorted Buses Evacuate Hundreds Of Americans To Port Sudan
Following expressions of shock and disgust by Americans disappointed that the Biden administration wasn’t facilitating their evacuation from war-torn Sudan, two bus convoys ferried Americans to the safer city of Port Sudan on the country’s Red Sea coast over the weekend.
In the first convoy, buses traveled more than 500 miles under the protection of armed U.S. drones. However, from Port Sudan, Americans are left to find tickets on boats making the voyage across the Red Sea to the Saudi city of Jeddah — a trip that, by ferry, takes about 12 hours.
“U.S. officials also are working with Saudi Arabia to see if one of the kingdom’s naval vessels can carry a larger number of Americans to Jeddah,” reported the Associated Press.
“A second USG-organized convoy arrived in Port Sudan today,” tweeted State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on Sunday. “We are assisting U.S. citizens and others who are eligible with onward travel to Jeddah, where additional personnel are ready to assist with consular & emergency services.”
They’ll need that assistance, as Sky News reports a scene of “sheer chaos” and desperation in Port Sudan as people of many countries queue up for a way out of the country.
Miller said the US government, in a multinational effort, has facilitated the evacuation of almost 1,000 Americans since violence erupted on April 15th. Channeling Matthew McConaughey in The Wolf of Wall Street, other countries might say “those are rookie numbers”: India’s already cleared almost 3,000.
Miller said fewer than 5,000 Americans in Sudan “have sought guidance from the government” as Sudan is gripped by an escalating civil war between two armed forces associated with rival generals.
Rather than toting citizens to the coast and then begging the Saudis for help, other countries are taking a more hands-on and expedient approach to rescuing their citizens. A Turkish C-130 took small arms fire while landing outside Khartoum, the Indian Air Force has used its own C-130s, and China is dispatching its own navy.
The Chinese military dispatched naval vessels to evacuate Chinese personnel in #Sudan. Chinese nationals line up for boarding the vessels, some hold Chinese national flag. This is the third time the Chinese navy takes the mission of evacuation of Chinese nationals overseas. pic.twitter.com/OuPxUGEYLb
— Qingqing_Chen (@qingqingparis) April 26, 2023
Also over the weekend came reports of the murder last Tuesday of a US-born doctor who was about to evacuate his parents, wife and two children from the capital city of Khartoum. “A roving band of strangers surrounded him in his yard, stabbing him to death in front of his family,” reported the Associated Press. In addition to heavy fighting, the city of 5 million has also been beset by widespread looting.
The 49-year-old doctor was the second American to die so far, along with an unidentified U.S. civilian who was earlier killed in a crossfire.
On April 23, the US government executed a military airlift of its embassy personnel, with three Chinook helicopters carrying nearly 100 Americans about 760 miles southeast to Camp Lemonnier, a US Navy-led base in the the country of Djibouti.
The White House subsequently ruled out any large-scale military evacuation of the estimated 16,000 Americans who were in the country as the war began. To the disappointment of Americans in Sudan — and their worried family members in the US — the Biden administration continued to say conditions weren’t suitable for a civilian evacuation.
Many other countries quickly reached a different conclusion…
IAF C-130J flight carrying 16th batch of evacuees takes off from Port Sudan.
122 passengers onboard this flight are en route to Jeddah.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) April 30, 2023
Mon, 05/01/2023 – 11:30