Over 100 evacuated in first French rescue flight from Sudan

Image Credit: Bangkok Post

Over a hundred people were evacuated from Sudan on the first French rescue flight, as part of a complex and challenging operation. Two planes have so far rescued hundreds of individuals, with more flights expected soon. The 106 passengers on the first flight landed safely in Djibouti in the late afternoon. The French military has been instrumental in the rescue efforts for people from countries including the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Ethiopia, and Morocco.

The evacuees, some of whom were wounded, expressed relief at their safe arrival. A foreign ministry official in Athens noted that they were “tired, tense, but very relieved to have arrived safe and sound.” Some had to cross the frontline of fighting around Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city, to reach safety. The French embassy played a vital role in negotiating a ceasefire with the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has clashed with the army.

The rescue operation involved deploying over 150 troops for protection, reconnaissance, logistical support, and medical personnel, in a highly volatile situation where fighting continued even during truces. The operation also faced challenges in locating French and foreign nationals due to limited phone network coverage and electricity.

The initial plan was to evacuate people via road, but security concerns and difficulties in supplying food and fuel led to a change in strategy. French President Emmanuel Macron contacted his Ethiopian counterpart to request permission for the rescue flights to use Ethiopian air space on their way to Djibouti.

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Some countries had closed their air space, but the first rescue flight eventually took off with a doctor on board to help evacuees who were shaken and psychologically affected by their time in Khartoum. More French rescue flights are scheduled for Monday morning.

The operation has been praised for its efforts in helping people escape from the war-torn region, with all those involved in the high-stakes mission being commended for saving numerous lives.

Read: Thai government acts fast to evacuate nationals from Sudan

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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