The government has begun the process of evacuating stranded Bangladeshi expatriates from Sudan on Monday as tensions raise amidst the continuation of deadly fighting between the two security forces of the country in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.
The conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has prompted a scramble to evacuate diplomats and foreign citizens. Concerns were also mounting regarding the fate of Bangladeshi expatriates in Sudan. From Monday, the Bangladesh mission has started the evacuation process during the 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations.
700 Bangladeshis to return on 1st phase from Sudan
State Minister Shahriar Alam has recommended that all Bangladeshis flee the conflict-ridden Sudan. Additionally, he urged every Bangladeshi in Sudan to register.
“So far, 700 of them have registered (with the Bangladesh Embassy in Sudan) … I appeal to the rest of the Bangladeshis to get registered for evacuation,” Shahriar Alam said.
Approximately 1,500 Bangladeshis currently reside in Sudan, according to Tarikul Islam, director of the foreign ministry’s Africa Wing. Due to the deterioration of the situation, the government has decided to repatriate Bangladeshis currently living in Sudan. By Today (Tuesday), it is anticipated that all registered Bangladeshis will have arrived in Port Sudan. They are expected to arrive in Jeddah by May 3 or 4.
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Bangladesh has acted swiftly to ensure the secure return of its citizens from the conflict-affected area of Khartoum. The Bangladesh mission has arrived at the site and will ensure the secure return of Bangladeshi nationals.
The planned route for evacuation
The 700 Bangladeshis who have registered for evacuation must independently reach the site from which buses to the Port of Sudan will depart. However, once they board the vehicles, the government will assume all of their responsibilities. Furthermore, they will receive some funds.
Buses will transport the evacuated expatriates from Khartoum to Port Sudan, a distance of over 800 kilometers. They will then be taken to the port city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia via ship. The Bangladeshis will be transported to Dhaka by Biman Bangladesh from Jeddah.
According to the foreign ministry, Saudi Arabia is supplying Bangladesh with the necessary ships for the evacuation from Port Sudan to Jeddah.
Two Bangladeshi schools in Jeddah have been provided for expatriates with food, drink, medication, and temporary housing. The Bangladesh Embassy in Port Sudan is arranging food, drinks, medication, and temporary housing for the expatriates after they have traveled from Khartoum to Port Sudan.
The state minister urged Bangladeshis to contact the nearest Bangladesh missions in addition to the Embassy of Sudan. If they contact Bangladesh missions in neighboring nations, such as Egypt or Ethiopia, their names will be added to the list.
The state minister reported that 35 Bangladeshis have departed on their own to neighboring nations since conflict broke out in Sudan on April 15.
The commendable effort of retreating all the Bangladeshi nationals
Several nations, including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Bangladesh, South Africa, and Japan, among others, have evacuated their diplomats and citizens from Sudan in anticipation of a further deterioration of the situation. Bangladesh had marked the safest route to return the Bangladeshi expatriates living in conflict affected area of Sweden. The government did not wish to endanger safety by failing to establish a safe evacuation route.
Those with legal documents in addition to their passports will be given priority. As soon as feasible, travel permits will be issued to those without legal documents in order to facilitate evacuation. Shahriar Alam stated that, if required, special flights will be arranged to send the Bangladeshis back to Bangladesh from Jeddah.
The state minister stated that the Bangladesh mission staff in Sudan would not depart until the final registered Bangladeshi is evacuated. A crew from the Bangladesh Jeddah mission has already arrived in Sudan via an Indonesian aircraft in order to assist with the evacuation mission.
PM Sheikh Hasina had issued a directive to give the issue top priority the day before her scheduled to visit Japan. The residence and office of the Sudanese ambassador were destroyed, but he is operating from a different premise. Under the direction of the Acting Foreign Secretary, the Ambassador of Bangladesh appointed in Saudi Arabia, the Consul General of Bangladesh Consulate General Jeddah, and the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are collaborating closely to ensure the successful repatriation of Bangladeshis.
The conflict in Sudan began on April 15, which was precipitated by a bitter power struggle between the leaders of Sudan’s regular army and a rival paramilitary organization, Rapid Support Forces (RSF).