April 25, 2023
JAKARTA – The Foreign Ministry on Monday said it was planning two rounds of evacuations to repatriate some 1200 Indonesian nationals residing in violence-stricken Sudan, with the Indonesian Military (TNI) now involved in the efforts.
A team led by Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, composed of envoys from Khartoum, Riyadh, Cairo, Addis Ababa and Jeddah have so far rescued 538 people during the first stage of evacuation on April 23. Most of the evacuees hailed from Khartoum, the epicentrum of Sudan’s armed conflict, approximately 830 kilometers away from the safe zone in Port Sudan where they will stop by Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah before heading back to Indonesia.
Sudan’s conflicting paramilitary, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Friday announced a 72-hour ceasefire, which was subsequently used by foreign countries including Indonesia to do the bulk of its evacuation efforts.
“It was our initial plan to evacuate all Indonesian citizens during the ceasefire. But there were fuel limitations imposed on the evacuation buses, making it impossible to do everything in one go,” said Retno via a video statement on Monday, adding that the situation on the ground was volatile and dynamic.
“There are still another 289 evacuees [waiting], most of which are university students. […] They will be evacuated during the second stage of evacuation as soon as the situation allows.”
Eight buses and one minibus have been deployed for the evacuation process, with 15 checkpoints spread throughout the Khartoum-Port Sudan route.
“This morning, an evacuation team flew to Jeddah using the Air Force’s plane. They consist of TNI security and medical teams, as well as some Foreign Ministry staff.”
Indonesia is among the many countries that has been actively rescuing its citizens from Sudan since violence between Khartoum’s military and the RSF broke down less than two weeks ago. So far at least 24 countries have rushed in the high-risk efforts, some resulting in injuries of foreign nationals. Also on Monday, Reuters reported the death of an Iraqi citizen during clashes and a wounded Egyptian diplomat.
On the ground, Retno said, evacuation efforts were of high difficulty and required “very careful planning.” The Indonesian Permanent Representative in New York has also been in close communication with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
In mid-April, Sudan’s military and the RSF started throwing accusations that the other was attacking their bases in Khartoum. Both armed groups had been in conflict for months, despite being a close ally previously as the RSF’s growing influence had started to disturb the military.
Hospitals in Khartoum have reached their full capacity as basic needs such as food and potable water run dry in the capital city. Violence has also manifested in Darfur, Sudan’s western region.