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Sudan war: Time ticks for Nigerians as 420 die in 10 days

Time is ticking for Nigerians in Sudan, including hundreds of students, as the warring factions in the Northeast African country continue hostility.

The Sudanese Army Forces, led by Abdelfattah al-Burhan, and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, are at war.

More than 420 people, mostly civilians, have lost their lives, 3,700 wounded and millions displaced since the battle started on April 15.

More people are fleeing the most affected parts, the capital city of Khartoum and the Darfur region, amid a shortage of basic amenities.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) said the country’s Mission in Sudan and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are working on a rescue plan.

In a statement on Sunday, NiDCOM chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa explained that the tense situation makes it “gravely risky and impossible for flights.”

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama said it was easy for America, Italy, France and co to evacuate quickly because “they don’t have 5,000 citizens like Nigeria.”

Onyeama noted that moving people in many vehicles during conflict would put their lives at risk because they may come under fire.

A video seen shows RSF fighters discussing and jubilating after setting fire to some aircraft, reportedly owned by the country’s airforce.

The Nigerian government has appealed to the warring parties to respect the Juba Peace Agreement on the restoration of peace.

Meanwhile, Air Peace on Monday offered to evacuate stranded Nigerians, according to a statement by its chairman, Allen Onyema.

The airline asked the federal government to do its best to transport the citizens to a safe and secure airport in any neighbouring nation.

“Everything must not be left for the government. It will be a privilege that we will be out there to give every Nigerian stranded in Sudan a sense of pride.

“We are very ready to do it immediately. Any action that would promote national pride, national cohesion, peace and unity, we are for it,” Onyema assured.

In Crisis Group’s weekly podcast, senior Sudan analyst, Shewit Woldemichael and Horn of Africa Project Director, Alan Boswell, expressed concern over the war.

They gave an insight into the tensions between the military and the RSF since the 2019 uprising, the 2021 coup, and when Burhan and Hemedti seized control from civilians.

According to the group, what triggered the renewed fighting was a dispute over how to integrate the RSF into regular army ranks.

There are speculations that Burhan and Hemedti have the backing of foreign governments.

Neither is ready to back down as of Monday.

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