Japan on Wednesday became the first nation to announce a plan to evacuate its citizens from Sudan, but questions surrounded how the effort would unfold, with the main international airport in Khartoum closed and millions of people sheltering indoors.
Amid five days of deadly clashes, including at times heavy fighting at the international airport in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, other countries have said they cannot repatriate their citizens now or have no immediate plans to do so.
On Wednesday, an effort by Germany to rescue about 150 of its citizens failed when military airplanes abandoned a plan to fly into Khartoum because of the violence, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported. The German Air Force flew three transport planes toward Sudan, getting as far as a refueling stop in Greece, when the plan was scrapped and the planes were rerouted back to Germany, according to the report.
The Germans include diplomats, federal police officers, aid workers and others, the magazine said.
Although the runway at Khartoum’s airport is believed to be intact, Rapid Support Forces paramilitaries have tried to take control of the sprawling complex, which is near the center of the capital. On Wednesday morning, airstrikes pounded the airport, likely fired by Sudanese Army warplanes trying to rout the rival R.S.F. fighters from the facility.
The U.S. State Department has said that it has no plans for a government-coordinated evacuation, and on Tuesday continued to urge Americans in Sudan to shelter in place. Russia has said that its embassy in Khartoum is in touch with Russians trapped by the fighting and that it will try to bring them to safety “as soon as possible.”
Japan’s top government spokesman, Hirokazu Matsuno, told a news conference on Wednesday that about 60 Japanese nationals in Sudan were safe, but that many, including diplomats and aid officials, faced “severe” shortages of food and water.
As a result, Japan’s Foreign Ministry asked its country’s military to conduct a rescue mission, Mr. Matsuno said, according to the Kyodo News agency. But he offered no information about how or when the rescue mission would take place.
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