Rebecca Black, PA
The Government has confirmed it is sending a team to evacuate Irish citizens from Sudan.
It comes as hundreds of people have died in a conflict between the Sudanese army and paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces.
Following a cabinet meeting on Sunday, the Government approved the deployment of an Emergency Civil Assistance Team (ECAT) mission to assist with the process of evacuating Irish citizens and their dependents from the crisis.
Statement on situation in Sudan. pic.twitter.com/rPKBHR0bsW
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) April 23, 2023
Up to 12 Defence Forces personnel would be deployed initially to Djibouti as part of the ECAT mission.
They were due to arrive in Djibouti on Sunday.
The Government indicated that the duration of the mission would be dependent on the progress that could be made, the security situation on the ground and decisions on extraction by partners.
They said they were in contact with Irish citizens who had registered with the embassy and every effort was being made to assist them.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said an estimated 150 Irish nationals were in Sudan.
“The situation in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has got worse in the last few days, and violence is being reported across the city,” he said.
“The Irish defence forces personnel and department of foreign affairs officers being deployed will make every effort to provide advice and assistance to the 150 or so Irish nationals in Sudan.
“The situation on the ground in Sudan remains extremely volatile and I wish the ECAT and defence forces team every success in this mission.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said the decision was a “continuation of the substantial, intensive work that the department of foreign affairs has been engaged in since this recent outbreak of violence in Sudan”.
“Above all, our primary aim is to offer our citizens every assistance through what has been an extremely difficult and challenging time,” he said.
Earlier, Irish national Cathy McLoughlin, who is in Khartoum with her family, said they had had a “terrible few days” since last Saturday when fighting broke out.
“We were actually downtown near the presidential palace, and we lay on the floor for five days and five nights and we did not know if we could come out of it,” she told RTÉ.
“Eventually, on the fifth day, we left our location and walked for miles and endured many difficulties and scary moments on the way, and now we’re staying at a friend’s house but it’s not safe, there are still bombs going off, and we need to be evacuated soon.”
A spokesperson for the department of foreign affairs said citizens should follow the Embassy of Ireland in Kenya on Twitter (@IrlEmbKenya) for updated advice.
“If urgent, the embassy’s out-of-hours consular assistance phone line can be contacted at +254 716 353 999, and the department of foreign affairs can be contacted at +353 1 408 2000,” they added.