FG: Evacuation of Stranded Nigerians in Sudan Begins as AirPeace and NAF Take Flight
On Friday 29th of April, the Nigerian Federal Government announced that it had authorized the Nigeria Airforce (NAF C-130H) plane and Airpeace plane to fly into Egyptian airspace to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Sudan. This move was prompted by the recent outbreak of conflict between Sudanese armed forces and para-military Rapid Support Forces. The evacuation exercise was confirmed in a joint press statement released by the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Janet Olisa, and that of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Sani Gwarzo in Abuja.The statement revealed that the NAF C-130H would depart from Abuja on April 28, 2023, to commence the airlift of stranded students, and that arrangements had been concluded to airlift all Nigerians who had already escaped on their own to safety in neighboring countries. Additionally, the statement stated that forty buses had been secured in Sudan to convey the students and other Nigerians from Khartoum to Aswan border in Egypt, which is one of the identified safe reception borders. As of the time of the statement, the first batch of buses had already departed Khartoum.The statement also addressed initial transportation issues faced by stranded Nigerian students who were dropped off in the desert by bus drivers due to non-payment of transport fees. The government assured the public that the situation had been resolved, and some Nigerian students who had found their way to the Ethiopian border were allowed entry into Ethiopia, following the intervention of Nigerian leaders. Additionally, another group of Nigerians assisted by the United Arab Emirates government had arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and arrangements were being made to return them home.The statement concluded by assuring the public that a Situation Room had been convened to monitor the evacuation exercise, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.