SUDAN: What We Know About Trapped Nigerian Students


SUDAN: What We Know About Trapped Nigerian Students

The crisis in Sudan is getting worse, and anxieties are growing, especially regarding the fate of many Nigerians who are stuck there. There have been well over 300 deaths and hundreds more injuries.

The army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the powerful and heavily armed paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), two opposing generals, have ignited a battle that threatens to consume all parties involved.

There has been a lot of violence in Sudan, with thunderous explosions, airstrikes, artillery fire, and fierce gunfire, especially in populated areas like the capital Khartoum and other cities throughout the country.

Read Also: Air Peace Willing To Evacuate Nigerians Trapped In Sudan

Their jostle for power seems to know no holds barred. Each general has accused the other of starting the fight, and both have made claims they control key sites, which could not be independently verified.

Cease Fire

Sudan’s warring factions have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire starting on Tuesday.

However, fighting has broken out in Geneina in West Darfur between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), according to local reports.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Sudan was on “the edge of the abyss” and the violence “could engulf the whole region and beyond”.

“This ceasefire aims to establish humanitarian corridors, allowing citizens and residents to access essential resources, healthcare, and safe zones, while also evacuating diplomatic missions,” the RSF tweeted.

The UN Security Council is planning a meeting on Sudan on Tuesday.

Several nations – including Canada, France, Poland, Switzerland and the US – have halted embassy operations until further notice.

The UN secretary general urged the 15 members of the Security Council to use their clout to return Sudan to the path of democratic transition.

Plight Of Nigerians

Some of those innocents at the brink of death are foreigners including Nigerians, most of which know nothing of this conflict and have taken no sides, however, they face the danger of being killed by forces from either side.

Very concerning at this moment for Nigeria, is the plight of her citizens, most of who are students trapped in Sudan.

1. Around 5,000 Nigerians could be looking for evacuation

Authorities on Monday said there is a likelihood that a total of around 5,000 Nigerian nationals could be looking for evacuation.

2. FG Plans to start evacuating 3000 by convoy to Egypt

A top government official said Nigeria plans to start evacuating nearly 3,000 of its nationals, mostly students, from Sudan by convoy to Egypt this week.

Onimode Bandele, special duties director for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told Channels TV the plan was to move about 2,650 to 2,800, including families of embassy staff.

3. Stay indoors/on-campus FG has told students in Sudan

As plans get in motion to evacuate the students, the FG has urged them to remain indoors, especially on their university campuses, to ensure that they do not get in the crossfire within Sudan.

4. Students who left campus must return to their universities 

There were reports that some Nigerian students gathered together and took a bus somewhere yet to be identified. In reaction to this development, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says the students would have to go back to their universities because it is very risky of them, as the military sees them in a convey might think they are members of the opposing forces.

5. Living conditions at the worst

According to the Vice President of External Affairs, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Akinteye Babatunde, the standard of living of Nigerian students in Sudan is quickly deteriorating.

“The rising panic and tension in the state are building up; these students should be evacuated to states where the battle is not too intense,” Babatunde said during Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, on Monday.

He said that “If we are talking about the students’ living conditions in Sudan, it is worse than ever. They can’t go out to get anything, they can’t buy food, they can’t buy provisions, they can’t get anything.

“Some of them hardly feed daily. They can’t do anything, they can’t go out, the network is bad, and the electricity is unstable. They are just hoping and praying, optimistic, and staying indoors. The state capital is where the battles are going on.”

According to him, the living conditions of the students are nothing to write home about.

6. Air Peace Willing To Evacuate Stranded Nigerians

While the government continues to work round the clock to evacuate the students, Air Peace says it is willing to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Sudan free of charge as fierce fighting continues to rage in Khartoum.

The Chairman of  Nigeria’s largest domestic airline, Allen Onyema, said he is compelled to help because Nigeria cannot afford to lose her citizens in that country, adding that it would be his own commitment to making sure that the stranded Nigerians in the war-torn country are safe.

He said that everything must not be left to the government alone, especially as the situation calls for urgency and immediate action.

Since fighting erupted on Sunday, at least 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 wounded, according to UN agencies, which also reported Sudanese civilians fleeing areas affected by fighting, including Chad, Egypt, and South Sudan.

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