Wednesday , June 7 2023

First group of Indonesian evacuees from Sudan return home

The first group of Indonesians evacuated from strife-torn Sudan returned home Friday on a charter flight from Saudi Arabia, officials said.

Southeast Asia’s most populous country has joined nations around the world in rushing to move their citizens to safety by land, air and sea after clashes between the Sudanese army and paramilitaries killed hundreds and injured thousands.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and military chief Yudo Margono greeted the 385 nationals – 248 women and 137 men – who arrived at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta after the 10-hour flight from the Saudi city of Jeddah.

“Considering the evacuees’ journey was very long and tiring, they will be temporarily accommodated… in east Jakarta before returning to their respective homes,” Marsudi told reporters.

She said another plane of evacuees would depart for Indonesia on Saturday and a final repatriation flight would set off Sunday.

Jakarta has shuffled hundreds of its citizens from the Sudanese capital Khartoum to Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast, where they are then being moved by sea and air to Jeddah.

Marsudi said 111 Indonesians remain in Port Sudan and would be flown to Jeddah on Friday.

There are about 1,200 Indonesians registered with their embassy in Khartoum, according to the foreign ministry.

Fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15 between Sudan’s army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commanded by his deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

At least 512 people have been killed and 4,193 wounded, according to official figures in Sudan, although the real toll is likely to be much higher.

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