First group of evacuees from Sudan land at JKIA

Suda war

this handout photo taken on April 23, 2023 and released on April 24 by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry shows smoke rising from a building next to a damaged car on a street in Khartoum. Foreign nations have pushed  with frantic evacuations of their citizens from chaos-torn Sudan, where heavy fighting raged for a 10th day between forces loyal to two rival generals

Photo credit: AFP

The first group of evacuees from the war-torn Sudan arrived in Nairobi aboard a military aircraft on Monday night. The group consisted of 19 Kenyans, 19 Somalis and one Saudi Arabian national who all travelled by road to South Sudan where they boarded onto the spartan aircraft.

They were received by Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). 

The first group of 39 Kenyan evacuees from war-torn Sudan arrived in Nairobi on Monday night aboard a military plane.

They were received at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale, who said they were all students studying at an international university in Sudan.

"I commend these people for making the long journey and thank the teams involved in facilitating their movement. The Government is committed to ensuring the safe return of Kenyans from Sudan," said CS Duale.

Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua thanked the countries that allowed the Kenyans to cross the borders from Sudan and allowed Kenyan aircraft to fly over their airspace to carry out the noble exercise.

More evacuees will be airlifted to Nairobi in the coming days by a team of military officials who are leading the exercise in collaboration with Foreign Affairs officials.

The government has already identified 3,000 Kenyans in Sudan and is urging those in need of evacuation to register their names, locations and passport numbers on emergency hotlines so that necessary arrangements can be made.

The next batch of evacuees will include a group of 29 students who crossed the border into Ethiopia after fleeing Sudan. Foreign Affairs PS Roseline Njogu said they would be flown home soon.

"I know there is a lot of concern about Kenyans still in Sudan. We are fully committed to evacuating everyone who has registered for evacuation. Please be patient; we are operating in a very fluid situation that requires a lot of pivoting," the PS pleaded on Twitter.

Sudan is on the brink of a nationwide civil war after fighting broke out between the local army - the Sudanese Armed Forces - and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), who are both fighting for control of the country.

Fighting broke out in the capital Khartoum last Saturday, but clashes have been reported across the country, with at least 427 people reportedly killed and thousands displaced.

Last night, the two rivals agreed to a US-brokered three-day ceasefire after 10 days of heavy fighting that triggered a mass evacuation of diplomats and foreigners from the country.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the nationwide ceasefire began at midnight on 24 April.

"After intensive negotiations, the SAF and RSF have agreed to implement and observe a 72-hour nationwide ceasefire, effective midnight on 24 April. We welcome their commitment to work with partners and stakeholders on a permanent cessation of hostilities and humanitarian arrangements," he said.