The United States carries out the first evacuation of its citizens since the war in Sudan

The United States has completed its first US-led evacuation from Sudan. More than two hundred American citizens fled Sudan amid deadly fighting and violent unrest. The citizens completed a perilous overland journey spanning five hundred miles, escorted through a bus convoy under armed drone surveillance. A large group of international brokers, including African and Arab nations, the United Nations, and the United States, have only achieved a series of flimsy temporary ceasefires that have failed to stop the fighting. Nonetheless, these ceasefires have created time for tens of thousands of Sudanese to flee to safer areas, while foreign nations evacuate thousands of their citizens through land, air, and sea routes.

The United States had come under criticism from families of trapped Americans for initially ruling out any US-led evacuation, deeming it too dangerous because US officials had no one on the ground there. Instead, they had to rely on armed drone surveillance for days to track evacuation routes, leading to a change of heart. The US special operations troops flew briefly to Khartoum, the capital, on April 22 to airlift US embassy personnel and other US government personnel. However, several thousand US citizens remained behind, many of them dual nationals.

With over a dozen other nations carrying out successful evacuations for their citizens, the US had to step up and take the lead for the trapped Americans. The US evacuation convoy encountered numerous checkpoints manned by armed men, and vehicles of other fleeing families littered the road, killed along the way. Since conflict erupted between two rival generals on April 15, the United States warned its citizens to either find their way out of Sudan or relocate to safer areas of the country.

Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the State Department, reiterated the warning to Americans not to travel to Sudan since evacuation is exceedingly difficult. The convoy consists of US citizens, local people employed by the US, and citizens of allied countries. From Port Sudan, away from the fighting, the Americans in the convoy can seek berths on ships crossing the Red Sea to the Saudi port city of Jeddah. US officials are working with Saudi Arabia to see if one of the kingdom’s warships can carry more Americans to Jeddah, where US consular officials will be waiting for them.

Amid the violent unrest and fighting, two Americans lost their lives. The US civilian was killed in the crossfire, while the doctor from Iowa City, Iowa, was stabbed to death in front of his Khartoum home and family during the fighting. In total, the conflict in the East African country has killed more than 500 people.

As the situation remains precarious, the US has urged its citizens not to travel to Sudan until further notice.

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