(Ottawa) A Canadian CF-17 aircraft is in the Sudan region and is preparing to repatriate people stranded in the country, but already 58 Canadians have been extricated on board a German aircraft.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided the update midday Monday at the German Embassy in Canada, ahead of a dinner with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is currently visiting the federal capital.
“I just learned earlier today that a German plane took off from Khartoum with a German citizen and 58 Canadian citizens on board,” he said before pointing out that other people should be rescued as well. shortly.
“We also have a C-17 in the area, and we will also provide airlift,” he said, without giving further details.
Earlier, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly wrote on social media that Ottawa was exploring “options for departure assistance in conjunction with allied nations and the international community” and would implement them “as soon as conditions would permit.”
In the same breath, she implored Canadians in Sudan, or whose contact details have changed, to register in the register of Canadian citizens abroad, if they have not already done so. According to recent data, nearly 1,600 Canadians are currently in the country, but there could be more.
The Canadian government last Saturday advised its nationals to “stay[r] sheltered in a safe place”, since “the closure of airports and airspace does not allow any air evacuation at this time”.
The premises of the Ottawa embassy in Khartoum have been deserted. “Canadian diplomatic personnel will temporarily work from a secure location outside of the country,” Global Affairs Canada said on Sunday.
According to the New York Times, US special forces evacuated six Canadian diplomats, along with 70 US diplomats and some from other countries. The Canadian government did not want to confirm this information for the time being.
Minister Joly is scheduled to speak shortly with her counterpart in Djibouti, a country where Canada has deployed members of the Permanent Rapid Deployment Team (PRDT) “with the aim of improving [its] support capacity and better assess the needs on the ground”.
Countries preparing plans to repatriate their citizens face serious obstacles on the ground, where a three-day ceasefire declared on the first day of Eid al-Fitr last Friday has not been respected by the enemy armed factions.
Some, however, have managed to bring hundreds of their own back to the fold. More than 1,000 European Union (EU) nationals have been evacuated from Sudan in a “complex operation”, Foreign Minister Josep Borrell announced on Monday.
Violence in Sudan erupted on April 15 between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, de facto leader since the 2021 putsch, and his deputy turned rival, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, who commands the Rapid Support Forces. (FSR), feared paramilitaries.
The clashes, which have mainly hit the capital, Khartoum, and Darfur in the west of the African country, have so far left more than 420 people dead and 3,700 injured, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). ).