War Breaks Out in Sudan – What Has Happened?
Since the 15th of April 2023, a civil war has been fought in Sudan between two rival factions headed by two of the country's Generals. This has left many expatriates living in the country in danger which has led to many countries mounting large scale evacuation missions. Over the weekend, UK diplomats and their families were escorted by elite troops under the cover of darkness out of the country. Sadly, many are unable to leave their current shelter due to fears about what is happening around them.
Below we will outline the causes of the fighting, the situation on the ground as it stands, what the current advice is for sheltering expatriates, and what to do if you are planning to travel to Sudan in the midst of the crisis.
Why is Sudan at War?
After the fall of dictatorial leader Omar al-Bashir and a military coup, fighting has almost been seen as an inevitability by many diplomats in the country. The underlying cause of the outbreak is both sides feel the other is at fault for thwarting the internationally backed plan to form a civilian led government.
The fighting in Sudan is between the Sudanese armed forces who are loyal to Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the countries de facto ruler, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a collection of militia who follow a former warlord in Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as ‘Hemedti’.
How long are the protests likely to last?
Whilst it is difficult to provide a definitive answer on how long the protests will last, it is unlikely that demonstrations will cease until the draft legislation and plans to overhaul the judicial system are removed. Whilst judicial reform in the state of Israel is dividing a nation, demonstrators will have been buoyed by the news that the prime minister has delayed the vote on new legislation for at least a month.
Whilst this is only a temporary fix, the prime minister did acknowledge that this was necessary to avoid a civil war in the country. President Isaac Herzog also called for the government to halt reforms taking to twitter to plead for the legislative process to be stopped immediately for the sake of the unity of the people of Israel.
Sudan’s geographical location further complicates the situation as they sit in a volatile region that borders the Red Sea, the Sahel region, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Horn of Africa. Whilst many countries are also battling for influence in Sudan, including, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
All of this contributes to the current tensions in the country that have come to a head this year.
Current Situation in Sudan
War in Sudan has been ongoing for two weeks now and barring a brief 72-hour ceasefire, seems set to continue. Foreign governments have been keen to agree a peace agreement between the warring factions in the Sudan conflict in order to evacuate their expatriates safely. Sadly, previous attempts at this have failed however, the RSF have suggested they will partially open airports in order to allow fleeing civilians safe passage from the danger zones.
Diplomats from several countries have already been rescued, but it is thought there are still around 4,000 UK passport holders stuck in the country. Whilst there seems to be an agreed break in the civil war in Sudan, Britain has launched its evacuation plan in order to rescue those in need.
Sadly, it has been reported that more than 400 people have been killed since the fighting began, with this number set to rise once the agreed ceasefire ends.
As of the 25th of April, the first UK plane carrying British Passport holders and their families out of the conflict took off and landed safely in Cyprus with more journeys planned in the coming days. HMS Lancaster is also docked in Port Sudan in case the airstrip is suddenly shut down by a break in ceasefire, however, until now the ceasefire seems to have held.
Advice for those stuck in Sudan.
There are currently concerns from civilians stuck in the country that it is not safe enough to venture out from their homes. Britons looking for evacuation will have to reach the Wadi Seidna airfield themselves and face the threat of encountering lingering fighting on route as no escorts are being provided. Those Britons that are stuck and have registered their presence in Sudan are being contacted directly and are being told not to head to the airfield unless they are called.
So far, the Sudan civil war has continued to have pockets of fighting even throughout previously agreed ceasefires, so it is unknown whether this ceasefire will hold and if it does, there’s no way to know how long it will last.
Travelling to Sudan
Whilst commercial airlines and airports are currently grounded due to the ongoing conflict, you may still be planning to travel to the country. For those providing medical aid or travelling as a journalist to cover the events on the ground, you may be looking at other ways to enter the country.
The FCDO is currently advising against ‘all travel’ to Sudan due to fighting in various locations and the closure of Khartoum International Airport. The FCDO is also advising that if you do plan to travel that you take out appropriate Travel Insurance that will cover you in an emergency.
High Risk Voyager specialise in providing Travel Insurance for high-risk areas, where the FCDO have specifically advised against ‘all travel’ or ‘all but essential travel’. This is designed predominantly for aid workers, journalists, and others a like who travel to these high-risk areas which might include crisis zones or disaster relief zones.
Travel Insurance for Sudan
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing situation, we are currently unable to provide cover for those travelling to Ukraine or Russia.
This article is for information and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute advice in any way. The information provided here is correct at the time of writing however please check the latest policy wording for the latest terms, conditions, and exclusions.