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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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International

US citizens still in Sudan will need to find their own way out

Apr 24, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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The United States suspended embassy operations in Sudan on Sunday, April 23, and sent troops on three Chinook helicopters to evacuate approximately 70 employees. But an estimated 16,000 private U.S. citizens remain in the country and the State Department said they should not expect a government-led evacuation.

“It’s not safe to undertake a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of private American citizens at this time,” State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said. “We have been very clear about the need to – for American citizens to remain indoors, to stay off the roads, to shelter in place, and to avoid traveling to the U.S. embassy at this time.”

It will be very difficult for Americans to evacuate. The airport is closed and there are military checkpoints on land routes throughout the country. The official U.S. government recommendation is to shelter in place, stay away from windows and go to the lower levels of buildings.

“The State Department recommends U.S. citizens in Sudan carefully consider routes and the risks of travel, because roads may be crowded, exposed to combat operations, or have deteriorated infrastructure due to damage to bridges, roads, and facilities,”a State Department spokesperson told Straight Arrow News.

The spokesperson said the government is working to provide the best available information about security conditions including which routes may be most dangerous. The government is also connecting citizens with other countries to help them find transportation out of the country once they approach Port Sudan.

The State Department has been telling American citizens not to travel to Sudan since August of 2021.

“Do not travel to Sudan due to armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping,” the most recent travel advisory states. “The U.S. government cannot provide routine or emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Sudan, due to the current security situation.”

The State Department also said terrorist attacks could occur at any time, in addition to the loss of internet and cellphone service.

“We have not parsed our words or been ignorant or naïve about the delicate and fragile security situation in Sudan,” Patel said.

U.S. citizens still in Sudan can fill out a crisis intake form with the State Department so they can be informed of options to leave as security conditions permit.

The Wall Street Journal reports there are private security contractors in the country helping people get out for a price. But the Secretary of State Antony Blinken said many U.S. citizens in the country may not want to leave.

“The overwhelming majority of American citizens in Sudan are dual nationals who have made their lives. They have been living there for years for decades, for generations, and many want to continue to do that. But for those who are seeking to leave, we’ll continue to engage directly with them,” Blinken said.

The State Department does not provide numbers of U.S. citizens living in a country partially because the estimates are constantly changing.

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The United States suspended Embassy operations in Sudan. On Sunday, American troops flew in on three Chinook Helicopters and evacuated approximately 70 embassy employees. They landed at an undisclosed location in Ethiopia. 

 

But an estimated 16,000 private US citizens remain in the country, and the State Department has made clear – they should not expect a US government led evacuation. 

 

Patel: “it’s not safe to undertake a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of private American citizens at this time.// tc 9:50 We have been very clear about the need to – for American citizens to remain indoors, to stay off the roads, to shelter in place, and to avoid traveling to the U.S. embassy at this time.”

 

The State Department has been telling American citizens not to travel to Sudan since August of 2021. 

 

The most recent travel Advisory states: Do not travel to Sudan due to armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. It adds: The U.S. government cannot provide routine or emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Sudan, due to the current security situation.

 

The State Department says terrorist attacks could occur at any time, in addition to the loss of internet and cell phone service. 

 

Patel: “We have not parsed our words or been ignorant or naïve about the delicate and fragile security situation in Sudan.”

 

The government is providing some assistance through phone and email. US Citizens still in Sudan can fill out a crisis intake form with the State Department so they can be informed of options to leave as security conditions permit. 

The Wall Street Journal reports there are private security contractors in the country helping people get out for a price. 

 

But the Secretary of State says many US citizens in the country may not want to leave. 

 

Blinken “the overwhelming majority of American citizens in Sudan are dual nationals who have made their lives they have been living there for years for decades, for generations, and many want to continue to do that. But for those who are seeking to leave, we’ll continue to engage directly with them”, 

 

Any evacuation will be difficult. The airport is closed, and there are military checkpoints on land routes throughout the country. So the official US government recommendation is to shelter in place, stay away from windows, and go to lower levels of buildings. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan