A boat carrying 1,687 civilians escaping violence in Sudan has arrived in Saudi Arabia, authorities have announced.
Saudi Arabia has completed its largest rescue effort to date, receiving a boat carrying 1,687 civilians from over 50 countries, including Qatar, who were fleeing violence in Sudan, the Saudi foreign ministry said.
The group was transported by one of Saudi Arabia’s ships, with the kingdom providing all the basic needs of foreign nationals in preparation for their departure.
The ongoing conflict in Sudan erupted in mid April with fighting between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
At least 459 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured as of Tuesday, according to UN agencies.
The violence has pushed civilians to leave their homes in search of safety, with thousands heading to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. Buses transporting those affected out of the conflict zone have filled up quickly despite extortionate prices for seats.
A three-day US-brokered ceasefire between the warring generals brought some calm to the capital, but witnesses reported fresh shelling as paramilitaries claimed to have seized a major oil refinery and power plant.
Saudi Arabia has received several rounds of evacuees by air and sea. The first batch arrived in Jeddah on Saturday carrying 150 people, including foreign diplomats and officials.
On Monday, a C-130 Hercules military plane flew dozens of South Korean civilians to Jeddah’s King Abdullah Air Base, and a boat ferried nearly 200 people from 14 countries across the Red Sea from Port Sudan.
Thirteen of the civilians who arrived on Wednesday were Saudi, while the rest came from countries across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, and North and Central America, the foreign ministry statement said.
In total, 2,148 people have been evacuated to the kingdom from Sudan so far, including more than 2,000 foreigners, the statement added.
Qataris moved to safety
Qatari nationals were also evacuated from Sudan for their safety.
“All Qatari citizens in Sudan have been evacuated,” MOFA spokesperson Majed bin Mohammad Al Ansari told Doha News in a statement earlier this week.
The announcement came after the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Saturday that 91 of its citizens had been evacuated, along with 66 nationals from 12 other countries which included Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, and Burkina Faso.
However, the kingdom did not provide an exact breakdown of how many evacuees came from each of the countries listed.
“All Qatari citizens who were in Khartoum during the past days were evacuated to Port Sudan and from there to Jeddah (western Saudi Arabia),” Al Ansari added.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), civilians in conflict-affected areas, including Khartoum, are increasingly fleeing their homes.
The United Nations has reported that up to 20,000 refugees have arrived in Chad, a neighbouring country, due to the ongoing conflict in Sudan.
Qatar has called on all parties to cease fire and urged for a peaceful solution to support regional and international efforts to resolve the crisis using diplomatic methods.