More than 700 people have arrived at Port Sudan via convoys organised by the US government, the State Department said on Monday, as fighting continues between rival Sudanese military groups.
The US had faced criticism for not providing citizens with a way out of Sudan, but it organised three separate convoys at the weekend, shuttling hundreds of people to the relative safety of Port Sudan, about 840 kilometres north-east of the capital Khartoum.
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters that further convoys would depend on the security situation.
More than 500 people have been killed and thousands wounded over 16 days of battles since disputes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces erupted into conflict on April 15.
From Port Sudan, US citizens can take a 12-hour ferry across the Red Sea to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the State Department has beefed up its consular presence.
Saudi Arabia has taken in more than 5,000 people since the conflict began on April 15, and the head of the US military’s Central Command thanked Riyadh for its efforts to help American citizens.
“We are greatly appreciative of the remarkable effort of General Al Ruwaili, the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in evacuating hundreds of Americans to safety,” said Centcom head Gen Michael Kurilla.
Until Saturday, the US had only helped American citizens link up with other foreign convoys to flee to safety rather than leading its own efforts.
“US government officials have been working around the clock since the start of the crisis 24/7 to co-ordinate these efforts with allies and partners to facilitate safe departure of US citizens,” Mr Patel said.
He added that the US had helped more than 1,000 citizens leave the country since the start of the conflict.
“US consular officers are on hand in Port Sudan to provide consular assistance to US citizens,” he noted.