President Joe Biden confirmed on Sunday, April 23rd that United States embassy staff and their families had been evacuated from Khartoum, Sudan. The evacuation took place as the armed conflict between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary group, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued. Six aircrafts were reportedly part of the mission, evacuating approximately 70 U.S. nationals. The U.S. nationals were flown to an undisclosed location in Ethiopia. The U.S. embassy in Khartoum was closed indefinitely.
“Today, on my orders, the United States military conducted an operation to extract U.S. Government personnel from Khartoum. I am proud of the extraordinary commitment of our Embassy staff, who performed their duties with courage and professionalism and embodied America’s friendship and connection with the people of Sudan. I am grateful for the unmatched skill of our service members who successfully brought them to safety. And I thank Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia, which were critical to the success of our operation,” President Biden said.
The RSF confirmed on its Twitter account that it had played a role in the evacuation of the U.S. embassy staff and their families.
“The Rapid Support Forces Command has coordinated with the U.S. Forces Mission consisting of 6 aircraft, for evacuating diplomats and their families on Sunday morning,” the RSF tweeted. The RSF promised to assist all diplomatic missions and ensure their safe evacuation from Sudan back to their countries.
However, the RFS’s claims were denied by Under Secretary of State for Management John Bass. “You may have seen some assertions in social media in recent hours, that the Rapid Security Forces somehow coordinated with us and supported this operation. That was not the case,” Bass said. “They cooperated to the extent that they did not fire on our service members in the course of the operation.”
Sudan has been in a catastrophic state since the armed conflict started on Sunday, April 16th. The fighting has brought all normal life in Sudan to a standstill. Several foreign countries have started evacuating their citizens, particularly their diplomats. Saudi Arabia managed to evacuate 91 of its citizens. The Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry confirmed that citizens from other countries had landed in the country as well. France and the Netherlands confirmed on Sunday, April 23rd that they would be deploying missions to evacuate their diplomats and citizens. They would also be assisting citizens of their allies. With regard to the evacuation of U.S. nationals, the government said it would not be carrying out evacuations as it was too dangerous. According to statistics from the U.S. embassy, there are approximately 16,000 U.S. citizens in Sudan.