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2 IAF planes in Jeddah, Navy ship reaches Port Sudan to evacuate Indians

A naval ship and two Indian Air Force plans have been mobilised to evacuate stranded Indians in Sudan (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@nicksortor)

The government has mobilised two Indian Air Force (IAF) planes and a Navy ship to evacuate stranded Indians in Sudan, as fierce fighting continues in the African nation’s capital Khartoum.

The measures have been put in place after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked officials to prepare contingency plans for evacuation of about 3,000 Indians stranded in Sudan.

“As part of our preparations, and in order to move swiftly, the Government of India is pursuing multiple options. Two Indian Air Force C-130J are currently positioned on standby in Jeddah. And, INS Sumedha has reached Port Sudan,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Sunday evening.

“We are closely monitoring the complex and evolving security situation in Sudan. We are also coordinating closely with various partners for the safe movement of those Indians who are stranded in Sudan and would like to be evacuated,” the statement said.

Apart from the Sudanese authorities, the Indian Embassy in Sudan is also in regular touch with the UN, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and the US among others, it added.

The US has temporarily suspended embassy operations in Khartoum and evacuated all its embassy personnel in an operation conducted by the Department of Defence.

In Khartoum, a city of five million, the conflict has left terrified civilians sheltering inside their homes, with power largely off amid sweltering heat and the internet cut for most, according to an AFP report.

The World Health Organization said more than 420 people had been killed and over 3,700 wounded in the fighting in Sudan, but the actual death toll is expected to be higher.