Total of 209 Irish citizens and dependents evacuated from Sudan

Ireland has ended the deployment of its emergency team in Cyprus and Djibouti to help those brought to safety.
Total of 209 Irish citizens and dependents evacuated from Sudan

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

A further 89 Irish citizens and their dependents have been evacuated from Sudan, bringing the total Irish evacuees to 209, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said.

The majority of Irish citizens evacuated by air in recent days have been carried on UK flights into Cyprus, the department said.

The UK Government had said its final flight departed from Wadi Saeedna airfield late on Saturday night.

It comes as a ceasefire in the conflict-stricken north African country appeared to falter, with residents reporting heavy explosions and gunfire breaking out again in the capital Khartoum despite the extension of the armistice between the country’s two warring generals.

Hundreds of people have died in the bloody conflict between the Sudanese army and paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces.

Micheál Martin, the Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister, said Ireland’s Emergency Civil Assistance Team (Ecat) operation in Cyprus and Djibouti is now to be withdrawn.

The mission, named Operation Piccolo, has involved Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials being stationed in the countries with the aim of assisting in the evacuation.

Ireland has also received help from France and Spain to airlift Irish citizens, residents and visa holders to safety.

Members of the Defence Forces’ Special Operations Forces unit and the Army Ranger Wing supported the operation.

“On deployment, the team secured the DFA personnel on the ground, liaised with key actors in the airport and assisted DFA in the processing and evacuation of identified Irish citizens/dependents,” the Defence Forces said in a statement.

“The team were also on standby to provide medical assistance if required.”

The evacuation at Wadi Seedna Air Base in Khartoum
The evacuation at Wadi Saeedna Air Base in Khartoum (Ministry of Defence/PA)

Ireland will now maintain an “enhanced multi-location consular presence” for citizens who remain in Sudan – operating from Dublin, Nairobi, Cairo, Amman, Riyadh and Addis Ababa.

The department said embassies remain in close contact with any citizens in Sudan who have requested assistance.

“I wish to thank the ECAT team and all those involved in our consular response,” Mr Martin said.

“Our primary aim has been to offer our citizens every assistance through what has been an extremely difficult and challenging time.

“Our experienced consular teams in Dublin and in the region will continue to actively respond to the needs of our citizens as the situation evolves.

“I would like to thank our EU partners, the UK, Jordan, Norway and Djibouti for their strong cooperation in this challenging mission,” the Tánaiste added.

Citizens have been urged to follow the Embassy of Ireland in Kenya on Twitter (@IrlEmbKenya) for updated advice.

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