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US Special Operations Forces Evacuate American Diplomats From Sudan

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American special operations forces evacuated U.S. diplomats and their families from the embassy in Khartoum early Sunday, according to the State Department. The operation inside war-torn Sudan took less than an hour, officials said.

About 70 Americans were airlifted from the embassy to Ethiopia, officials said. Diplomatic colleagues from other embassies who were at the American embassy were also evacuated an official said. Other Americans who are not attached to the embassy remain inside Sudan.

Biden gave the order, sources said, after a Saturday assessment from national security advisers that the fighting would continue.

READ MORE about the fighting in Sudan

People inside Sudan reported seeing a heavy U.S. military presence on Saturday, ahead of the airlift.

The sudden fighting that broke out one week ago has brought the city of more than 5 million people to the brink of collapse, with residents hunkering down inside their homes with no electricity amid the violence, and with marauding fighters roaming the streets and looting homes.

The chaos inside Sudan includes personal assaults, home invasions, and looting, the State Department reported, advising  U.S. citizens ” to remain indoors, shelter in place until further notice and avoid travel to the U.S. embassy.”

The station itself “cannot provide emergency consular services,” the embassy announced.

Thousands of Khartoum residents have fled their homes in recent days, seeking safety and basic necessities, witnesses reported.  Food supplies are low, and most parts of the city have no electricity or running water. At least 20 hospitals have closed, according to Sudan’s minister of health. 

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The fighting was triggered over Sudan’s political future, which has been unstable  since longtime leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019. Two military factions — once political allies, now battlefield adversaries — are wrestling for control over the city and over the country’s lucrative mineral resource exports, especially gold. Violence is erupting in other parts of the northeast African nation. 

The U.S. embassy personnel had been under a shelter-in-place order, while U.S. troops moved in to stage the evacuation.

France announced later Sunday that it is also evacuating its diplomatic personnel from Khartoum.

With reporting from VOA.

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