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US troops preparing to evacuate embassy in Sudan

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks after his recovery from COVID-19 in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 20, 2023

U.S. troops are preparing for an evacuation of the American embassy in Sudan following days of fierce fighting in the capital between rival military forces.

A spokesperson for U.S. Africa Command said it “is monitoring the situation in Sudan and conducting prudent planning for various contingencies,” The Hill reported.

“As part of this, we are deploying additional capabilities nearby in the region for contingency purposes related to securing and potentially facilitating the departure of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan, if circumstances require it,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Phil Ventura said in a statement.

Thousands have fled Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, since fighting between the national military and an opposing paramilitary force broke out over the weekend, as reported by Reuters.

Attempts to broker ceasefires have failed as more than 330 people have been killed, Reuters reported.

The fighting is between Sudan’s military, commanded by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group led by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. The generals were previously allies, supporting the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and staging a military coup in 2021. 

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Tensions have flared over the country’s plans to transition to civilian rule amid negotiations to integrate Dagalo’s RSF into the national military, as reported by CNN.

Videos have circulated on social media showing the fighting, including jets flying over Khartoum.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that a convoy of U.S. embassy vehicles took fire on Wednesday, but no one was hurt, The Associated Press reported. He said preliminary reports linked the attackers to the RSF.

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National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Thursday that the State Department is working to get diplomats sheltering in place “all co-located together for their own safety.”

“Obviously we’re still very concerned about the violence there, the continued fighting,” he said.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.