(OTTAWA) The Canadian government is working with its allies to extricate its nationals from Sudan, which is in the grip of an escalating armed conflict.

“We are currently exploring options for departure assistance in conjunction with allied nations and the international community. We will implement them as soon as conditions permit,” Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly wrote on social media on Monday.

In the same breath, she implores Canadians in Sudan, or whose contact details have changed, to register in the register of Canadian citizens living 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 advised its nationals last Saturday to “stay[r] sheltered in a safe place”, since “the closure of airports and airspace does not allow any air evacuation at this time”.

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.

Canada is not ruling out the possibility of rescuing its nationals by its own means, but is still putting plans together with its allies. Egypt and Kenya seem to be the nations with which the collaboration could be fruitful for the moment, said a government source.

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”.

Violence erupted on April 15 between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, de facto ruler of Sudan 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). ).