Omar Dehen, SBS Australia

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Sudan conflict, Australian nationals leaving Sudan.

Virginia Langeberg: A 72 hour ceasefire has been extended in Sudan, with the opposing army and paramilitary forces agreeing to renew a fragile truce after almost two weeks of bloodshed. The White House has welcomed the move, hoping it will lead to an end to hostilities, but says it is concerned over repeated violations. In the last few hours, explosions have been reported in the capital, Khartoum. Desperate to escape the violence, thousands of Sudanese people and foreign nationals have fled the country, including 100 Australians. But many have been hampered by critical shortages.

Omar Dehen: On the streets of Sudan's capital, the scars of battle are everywhere. Parts of Khartoum burnt to a crisp and littered with ammunition, restoring power outages a precarious task.

Mohamed Abdel-Moneim El Haj: [Translation] We are working in an extremely dangerous situation, with land mines and artillery. One would take care not to be hit by artillery while walking.

Omar Dehen: A ceasefire set to expire at midnight was extended between the army and Rapid Support Forces. But Sudan's outlook remains grim as both sides accuse each other of breaching law and order. A diplomatic solution still elusive, Sudan's humanitarian situation deepening. Supplies of food, water, medicine are critically low.

Speaker: [Translation] This catastrophe is only getting worse. What is available now won’t be by tomorrow.

Omar Dehen: A fuel shortage is also stopping some from driving out of Sudan. Those able to fill up are heading to border countries like Egypt to the north. Sudanese nationals, foreigners, aid workers and diplomats are being evacuated en masse. Airfields and ports are proving the main hope for desperate crowds to escape the horrors. Among the major operations, China's military sent two naval ships to evacuate 700 Chinese nationals, while hundreds of Saudi Arabians were either ferried or flown to Jeddah. Other foreign nationals have been evacuated by air to dozens of countries, including India, Iraq, Thailand and Sweden. 900 British citizens were brought back to the UK via Cyprus.

Speaker: Fighting between themselves, civilians are caught in the middle. It's unfortunate you know.

Omar Dehen: Australia's Foreign Ministry says 102 Australians have safely left Sudan, but 142 remain.

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tim Watts:

Our message to Australians still in Sudan is to take advantage of this window of opportunity with the 72-hour ceasefire. We cannot guarantee that there will be further flights leaving the country after the 30th of April.

Omar Dehen: The conflict creating deep fractions across the country and among families. Brothers Yakub on the right and Mossab on the left, are fighting on opposing sides, their parents and brother fearing a confrontation.

Mohamed Jally: [Translation] It feels so bad, your heart is torn. You hear that the army attacked the RSF and the RSF attacked the army. We are constantly worried. We don't know what will happen.

Omar Dehen: Uncertainty is overwhelming in Sudan. Omar Dehen SBS World News.

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