Sudan confirms evacuation of Egyptian soldiers at hands of paramilitaries
Khartoum, Apr 20 (EFE).- The Sudanese army confirmed Thursday the evacuation of 177 soldiers of the Egyptian Air Force who “surrendered” to the powerful Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group, when the conflict began in the country.
“In coordination between the Sudanese and Egyptian parties, 177 technical soldiers of the Egyptian Air Force, who had been detained in Merowe during the outbreak of the Rapid Support militia rebellion, were evacuated to Egypt from Dongola airport by four Egyptian military transport planes,” a statement from the armed forces read. The soldiers were captured Saturday.
Dongola airport is located some 400 kilometers north of Khartoum, a city whose international airport is completely out of service due to damage to the runway and surrounding fighting.
So far, the evacuation plans of Western organizations and embassies have been paralyzed as there are no exit routes.
The Sudanese army said the presence of these crews belonging to the Egyptian Air Force had been carried out in accordance with a training protocol signed between the two countries in 2018. Another training exercise was scheduled for May.
Egyptian President Abdelfatah al Sisi said the Egyptian troops were in Sudan as “a symbolic force” for joint “training” with the Sudanese state and “not to support one side against the other.”
Al Sisi, who has shown himself willing to mediate in the neighboring country’s conflict, said Egypt’s position “is based on not intervening in the internal affairs of countries.”
The fighting continued Thursday for the fifth consecutive day in the country, despite both parties reaching a new truce Wednesday.
At least 270 people have been killed and more than 2,000 injured in clashes between the Sudanese army and paramilitaries, according to the World Health Organization. EFE