Hundreds of American civilians evacuated from Sudan as fighters break fragile truce

Hundreds of American citizens have left Sudan by land, sea and air, the State Department said late Friday as fighting continued despite the extension of a fragile truce between the country’s two top generals.

“We are actively helping U.S. citizens who seek to depart Sudan to move overland to a location where they can more easily exit the country,” Vedant Patel, a State Department spokesperson told a press briefing.

Patel said that fewer than 5,000 citizens had requested additional information from the U.S. and of those only a fraction had actively sought assistance to depart Sudan. “Several hundred U.S. citizens “have already departed Sudan, either by land, sea or aircraft,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday that U.S. nationals were among almost 1,900 foreign evacuees who arrived in the port of Jeddah by ship on Saturday. It did not say how many Americans were on board.

A ferry transporting evacuees from Port Sudan arrived inn Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.Fayez Nureldine / AFP via Getty Images

While several countries have evacuated nationals by air, some have gone via Port Sudan on the Red Sea, around 500 miles by road from Khartoum.

Around 16,000 American citizens were in the country before the violence broke out just over two weeks ago.

While U.S. personnel were evacuated from the U.S. Embassy last week, some have criticized the length of time it has taken to organize civilian evacuations.

Denise Bowers and her husband Chris told NBC News Thursday that they made it to the Egyptian capital Cairo after an arduous journey that involved travel by bus and ferry.

Chris, 53, said they watched the U.S. Embassy evacuation from their apartment in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, but had to make their own way out of the large African nation.

Denise, 52, who had been working as a teacher, added that the U.S. government “had absolutely nothing to do with us getting out safely,” although the embassy had been aware that they were in Sudan. She said that they had been advised to join a convoy traveling from the Turkish embassy.

Chris, 53, added that he was glad they had escaped but he “felt bad” for those left behind. “The fact that we got on a bus and half of our friends couldn’t come with us made us feel horrible,” he said.

The couple returned from Egypt to Bluffton, South Carolina late Friday.

Along with thousands of others, they were forced to leave after the military and its partner turned rival, the Rapid Security Forces, began battling for control of the large African nation’s major institutions earlier this month.

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