Dubai: Anxious relatives of several Indians stuck in Sudan following the fighting between the Army and paramilitary forces are eagerly waiting for information about their relatives and appealed to the government to evacuate them from the strife-torn African country as soon as possible.
Fighting erupted in Sudan on Saturday, leaving at least 185 people, including an Indian, dead and more than 1,800 injured.
Albert Augestine, a retired Indian soldier, was killed on April 15 when a stray bullet hit him while he was standing near the window of his flat in Khartoum.
She said her 63-year-old father was in Sudan on a business trip and was to fly back to Mumbai on Saturday (April 15). He was at the airport when they were informed that the flight was cancelled. He along with other passengers was not allowed to leave the airport. After some hours when they were allowed to leave the airport, they had to walk towards their hotels as there was no conveyance available.
“I am worried about my father as he is a senior citizen with health issues. I could briefly speak to him this morning (Wednesday), but after that, there is no contact. We just want to know if he is safe or not,” Sheth told PTI.
“He has sleep apnea that requires him to be on anti-seizure medication and he also uses a medical device (CPAP) which unfortunately was checked in at the airport on Saturday. That is the main reason why we are so desperate to get him out of Sudan because he only has enough medication for the next three days,” she said.
There is no power in many areas of the city and the hotel in which Sheth’s father is staying is running on a generator which has limited capacity.
Sheth said she also has some relatives in Sudan who told her that the security situation is very bad in the country and despite the announcement of a ceasefire, there is no cessation of violence.
India is coordinating closely with various countries, including the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia, to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals in violence-hit Sudan, government sources said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
They said the ground situation in Sudan is “very tense” and the movement of people is “very risky” at this stage.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has already spoken to his counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over the situation in Sudan and they assured him of practical support on the ground for the safety of the Indians in that country.
The Sudanese Army and a rival paramilitary force agreed to a 24-hour cease-fire on Tuesday. However, reports said it was short-lived.
Sheth said her relatives told her that Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is on a looting spree and even taking away residents’ cars.
People have been told to puncture their cars and empty their fuel tanks so that they can prevent the RSF from taking away their cars.
She said she has full faith in the government and urged the government to soon evacuate all the Indians stranded there.
Another woman, who did not want to be identified, told PTI that her husband is stuck at a hotel in Khartoum. She said guests of the hotel are hiding in the hotel basement to save their lives.
“There is jungle raj in Sudan. There is no value for life in the country. Soldiers are indulged in looting and kidnapping. There is no government in the country,” she said but did not share details about her husband due to security reasons.
The woman said Indians stranded in hotels are fearing for their safety and they are at the mercy of hotel staff.
“As there is looting happening everywhere the hotels have a limited supply of food, and there is no electricity and Internet services. Hotels can shut their operation if the situation worsens and these people will not have any place to go,” she said.
She shared that there are some people in the hotel waiting to go back to India for medical treatment.
“The Indian government is making all-out efforts to safely evacuate its citizens,” she said and shared that the Ministry of External Affairs personnel contacted her after she shared the ordeal on her Twitter account.
“The danger is real. The situation is showing no signs of getting better or settling down. Our only appeal to the government is to evacuate its nationals as soon as possible,” she said, adding that the Indian government was quick in responding to their queries.
The Indian Embassy in Sudan on Tuesday said, “We have come across many instances of looting. All Indian nationals are advised please not to venture out. Please ration your supplies.” “The situation may continue for a few more days. Please try to take help from your neighbours. Please stay at home and remain safe,” the mission tweeted.
Several people whose relatives are stranded in the country took to Twitter to ask the government to evacuate them.
“#Sudan #Khartoum mera bhai Fas gaya hai, please usko aur baki Bhartiyo ko nikalo vhase (My brother is stranded in Khartoum, Sudan..please evacuate him and other Indians there. Please take some action,” a person with the account name gauravsbagul tweeted.
Another netizen with the account name Priyanka Sonawane tweeted, “requesting you to please evacuate Indians. My brother is also stuck in #Sudan #Khartoum. Please do something.” Out of about 4,000 Indians in Sudan, the settled Indian community in Sudan is now about 1,200, which is there for about 150 years. Other expatriate Indian community members are working as professionals in key sectors of the Sudanese economy. There are a few Indians working in the UN Missions and other international organisations.