Two boats carrying Saudi citizens and other nationals rescued from battle-scarred Sudan arrived Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi state television said, in the first announced evacuation of civilians since fighting there began.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that diplomats and international officials were among those who arrived in the evacuation operation carried out by the Royal Saudi Navy with the support of various branches of the armed forces.
It added that 91 citizens had been evacuated, and 66 other nationals from Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, and Burkina Faso.
“The Kingdom worked to provide all the basic needs of foreign nationals in preparation for their departure to their countries,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The first evacuation vessel from Sudan has arrived, carrying 50 (Saudi) citizens and a number of nationals from friendly countries,” the official Al-Ekhbariyah television said.
The first boat docked at the Red Sea port of Jeddah where the four other ships carrying 108 people from 11 different countries was expected to arrive later from Sudan, the broadcaster said.
Those who have arrived in Jeddah include the crew of a Saudi passenger plane that was hit by gunfire while preparing to take off from Khartoum at the start of the fighting on April 15, according to Saudi state TV.
A convoy of vehicles carried the evacuees to Port Sudan from where they boarded ships to Jeddah, according to the Saudi broadcaster.
Earlier on Saturday, the Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry announced that Saudi Arabia will start arranging the evacuation of its citizens and several nationals from other “brotherly and friendly” countries from Sudan as clashes intensify despite an Eid truce.
In a statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said the evacuated people will be flown to Saudi Arabia.