Sudan Crisis: FG To Begin Evacuating Nigerian Students On Tuesday

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), says the federal government has asked for a safe corridor for the evacuation of Nigerian students trapped in Sudan.

In an interview with BBC Africa on Monday, Dabiri-Erewa said the evacuation of the students would begin on Tuesday.

She said the students would be transported by buses to the borders of Egypt before being airlifted to Nigeria.

The war in Sudan between its military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has made it nearly impossible for flight routes to operate.

Amid a shutdown airport, there have been reports of burnt aircraft.

“We are hoping that by tomorrow, the first set of buses will be leaving Khartoum heading toward some borders in Cairo…to evacuate the first set to a safe place where we can now airlift them back home to Nigeria,” Dabiri-Erewa said.

“So, I know that the National Association of Nigerian Students actually sent a message and told all of them come somewhere so we can pay some fees but that was a dangerous move so they’ve all returned back to base and there’s a contact from the Nigerian mission in Sudan where there will be coming to.

“So, as soon as the buses are ready, like I said, most likely by tomorrow morning, they will convey them safely and that is the keyword.”

The NiDCOM chair said the process had been delayed because the federal government had yet to hear from Sudan’s army and the RSF for a safe passage.

“Now, here is the thing, why are we waiting? Because we must ensure that we get the permission of the military on both sides. Now, we have a large number of Nigerian students, we’re talking of thousands, nothing less than 3,500 that are stranded there so we’re conveying them in a whole lot of buses. Imagine seeing 10 buses without any security, you’re putting them in harm’s way,” she said.

“So we want to ensure that there’s safety and security, so by tomorrow morning, we believe that they’ll now go en route to Egypt and get to two borders there and they’ll be in a safe location to return home.

“Our ministry of foreign affairs has contacted both sides of the divide and we have asked for a safe corridor for our students and that means to give us security.”

DEATH TOLL EXCEEDS 400

Many foreign students — from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East — who are also stuck in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital and the war centre, have also put out desperate calls for help.

Several ceasefire “agreements” by both sides, including a three-day halt to mark Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday which started on Friday, have been ignored minutes into the truce launch.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the fighting has killed over 400 people and injured thousands.

However, there are fears that the death toll could be higher as people are struggling to get healthcare, food, and shelter.

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