Kenya and Uganda are scrambling to evacuate their citizens from Sudan as the ongoing fighting between the Sudanese army and paramilitary groups enters its second week.
The unrest has left many people stranded in the country, including students, business people, diplomats, and pilgrims en route to Saudi Arabia.
To that effect, The two East African nations are conducting coordinated evacuation operations to bring their citizens back home safely.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs minister, Dr. Alfred Mutua, revealed that the government expects to evacuate up to 400 citizens via air and land through four countries, including Ethiopia.
Moreover, Dr. Mutua expressed gratitude to South Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia for allowing Kenyan planes to overfly their airspaces.
According to reports, the Kenyan rescue operation involves three active evacuation programs, with the first program already facilitating the return of 29 students who crossed the border to Ethiopia by road.
The students are on their way to Gondor, from where they will fly to Addis Ababa and then to Nairobi.
subsequently, the second program involves an airlift of another group of 18 students traveling by road to the South Sudan border via a Kenya Air Force aircraft.
Under the third plan, a large group of Kenyans on a “well-planned program of travel” will fly from Port Sudan to Jeddah in two aircraft and then travel to Nairobi via Kenya Airways.
Most of the stranded Kenyans are students in Khartoum, reflecting Sudan’s recent position as a higher learning destination for many from East African nations.
On the other hand, Uganda’s evacuation operation includes hiring six long-haul buses to transport the 300 evacuees, including diplomats, business people, students, and Hajj pilgrims across the Ethiopian border from where they will take a flight to Entebbe.
Uganda’s envoy to Khartoum, Ambassador Rashid Ssemuddu, confirmed the embassy’s efforts to evacuate its citizens.
The ongoing violence in Sudan has raised concerns about the safety of foreign nationals in the country. The East African nations’ swift action to evacuate their citizens is a testament to their commitment to protecting their citizens’ lives and well-being.
It also underscores the importance of regional cooperation in times of crisis. The cooperation between Kenya and Uganda in conducting their evacuation operations shows that working together can achieve better outcomes and enhance the effectiveness of disaster response efforts.
In conclusion, the evacuation of Kenyan and Ugandan citizens from Sudan is a critical operation that requires close coordination and cooperation between the two countries.
As the situation in Sudan remains volatile, the governments of Kenya and Uganda must continue to work together to ensure the safe return of their citizens.
Thus, the successful completion of these evacuation programs will be a demonstration of the commitment of the East African nations to protect their citizens and promote regional cooperation.