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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Sudan latest: South Africans and ‘war dogs’ to arrive in SA

A group of South African nationals who have been safely evacuated from war-torn Sudan, arrived back on home soil this afternoon.

While heavy fighting rages on and the billowing clouds of smoke from air strikes paint the skies of Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum black, a group of evacuated South Africans have made their way home to safety on Saturday.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Clayson Monyela confirmed on Saturday 29 April that all 41 South Africans who were stranded in Khartoum, have been safely evacuated.

ALSO READ: Sudan: Raging battle sparks mass evacuations by countries

Sudan power struggle rages on

The evacuation effort which included a gruelling trip to Egypt, takes place amid a US-brokered ceasefire between Sudan’s warring generals which did not yield much success.

On 15 April, clashes broke out between rival military factions in Sudan as a result of a power struggle within the country’s military leadership.

Military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, were fighting over the planned integration of Daglo’s Rapid Support Forces into the regular army.

First group from Sudan to arrive in SA

The first group of nationals who crossed from Port Sudan to Jeddah arrived at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Saturday after their employer paid for their flights.

The rest of the evacuated South African citizens are expected to arrive on Sunday, 30 April.

Dirco has, however, not been able to confirm the exact time of their arrival.

“The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) wishes to advise that due to  unavoidable and necessary changes in the logistical arrangements, the arrival time of evacuees from Sudan has changed,” according to the latest statement issued by Dirco.

The Citizen reached out to Monyela for an update, but no confirmation has been received at the time of publishing,

Gift of the Givers assists in evacuation

The non-governmental humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers played a key role in assisting to evacuate citizens.

According to the foundation chairperson and founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, eight South Africans and an American man and his daughter, – who is also a South African – are on their way to a ferry from the Egyptian border.

“We hope they make the ferry tonight (Saturday night) and from there onwards, to Aswan,” Sooliman said.

Brave ‘war dogs’ to be reunited with owners

Sooliman told EWN the evacuation effort did not just include humans.

“The two Scottish terrier dogs that were left behind by one of the South Africans are also on the bus, and they will also be participating and entering the flight that comes to South Africa.

“That would be a very good ending for two dogs that were very sad when their owners left.”

Ilse Young, the owner of the two Scottie ‘war dogs’, told Mail & Guardian the family was forced to leave their dogs behind in Khartoum on Monday when the Youngs felt there wasn’t space for their dogs. 

They were put on the third bus – organised by the Gift of the Givers – which left Khartoum on Wednesday. 

Evacuation timeline

  • The first group of 38 South Africans and seven Angolans left Khartoum on Monday on two buses and reached the Sudan border on Tuesday morning.
  • Another thirty managed to cross the border into Egypt the same day, but the remaining eight only crossed the border at 4.30pm on Wednesday, after a wait of 26 hours.
  • Sooliman said the delay at the border had been caused by bureaucracy, complicated by the fact that some South Africans did not have passports.

“A group of our nationals crossed from Port Sudan to Jeddah. Our Consul-General and his team received them and facilitated on-ground support,” he said.

Additional reporting by AFP.

This is a developing story, more to follow.

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