US evacuate diplomats from Sudan as fierce fighting rages

US troops have carried out an evacuation of American embassy staff from Sudan’s capital as fighting between the Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary group continues for a ninth day.

About 70 American nationals have been successfully flown from a landing zone at the US Embassy in Khartoum to an undisclosed location in Ethiopia.

President Joe Biden ordered the evacuation of US embassy staff after receiving a recommendation on Saturday from his national security team with no end in sight to the fighting.

Embassy evacuations conducted by the US military are relatively rare and usually take place only under extreme conditions.

The US State Department said it has suspended operations at the embassy due to the dire security situation.

It added it would “continue to assist Americans in Sudan in planning for their own safety and provide regular updates to US citizens in the area”.

According to the World Health Organisation, fighting between forces loyal to two top generals has killed more than 400 people since erupting on 15 April.

The violence has included an unprovoked attack on a US diplomatic convoy and numerous incidents in which foreign diplomats and aid workers have been killed, injured or assaulted.

The White House said it has no plans for a government-coordinated evacuation of American citizens trapped in Sudan.

The US embassy said on Saturday that “due to the uncertain security situation in Khartoum and closure of the airport, it is not currently safe to undertake a US government-coordinated evacuation of private US citizens”.

An estimated 16,000 US citizens are registered with the embassy as being in Sudan, although that figure is probably inaccurate because there is no requirement for Americans to register or notify the embassy when they leave.

The conflict between the armed forces, led by General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, has derailed Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after decades of dictatorship and civil war.

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