A week after American special operations forces evacuated staff and their families from the U.S. embassy in Khartoum due to ongoing fighting, the departments of State and Defense carried out the first major evacuation of U.S. citizens in Sudan. 

Roughly 300 people, mostly American but also local staff at the American embassy and some European nationals, were able to leave the capital and make it to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The evacuation was organized by the State Department. From Port Sudan, the evacuees will go to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The convoy left Khartoum by bus, escorted by American military drones. The move comes as infighting between the top two leaders in Sudan approaches its third week, with hundreds reported killed so far.

Staff are on-site in Jeddah to help the evacuees with consular support and other services, the State Department said in a statement.  

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The U.S. military is currently moving naval vessels to the region, in addition to the drones provided to escort the convoy. For the evacuation from Khartoum it “deployed U.S. intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to support air and land evacuation routes,” according to a statement from Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh.

The State Department did not say how many Americans in total were evacuated today, or how many remain in Sudan.

A separate evacuation today by ferry took roughly 1,900 people from Port Sudan to Jeddah. A flight,organized by the United Arab Emirates, took 128 people to Abu Dhabi, including some Americans.

Fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Security Forces continues, entering its third week. Violence began on April 15. The conflict is between Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, run by Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, also known as “Hemedti.” The two leaders seized power in a coup in 2021, just two years after civilian protests and a separate coup removed long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir from office. Protests calling for civilian rule had been ongoing until the start of the fighting this month. 

Currently the army is moving forces back to the capital to expel RSF troops in the city. 

Last weekend, following nine days of fighting, the U.S. military arrived by helicopter to the embassy in Khartoum. Special operations forces evacuated embassy staff and their families. The embassy is closed for an indeterminate amount of time, which left many Americans in the country without consular services. Today the State Department said that it worked to contact any Americans in Sudan about the evacuation to Port Sudan. 

“We messaged every U.S. citizen in Sudan who communicated with us during the crisis and provided specific instructions about joining this convoy to those who were interested in departing via the land route,” a release from the department said. “We encourage U.S. citizens who want to leave Sudan but chose not to participate in this convoy to contact the Department of State using the crisis intake form on our website.”

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