The United States is preparing to send additional troops to nearby Djibouti in case the Americans need to leave Sudan.
The United States is preparing to send a large number of additional troops to its military base in Djibouti in case American citizens are eventually evacuated from Sudan.
Over the weekend, forces commanded by two formerly allied leaders of Sudan’s ruling council began a violent power struggle that has so far killed more than 330 people and plunged a country reliant on food aid into what the United Nations calls a humanitarian catastrophe.
“We are deploying additional capabilities near the area for contingency purposes related to securing and possibly facilitating the departure of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan if circumstances warrant,” the Pentagon said in a statement Thursday.
Djibouti is a small country of about 1 million people, but it has become a linchpin of US business in Africa and the Middle East. The US was awarded a 10-year lease for the base in 2014, paying $63 million a year.
White House spokesman John Kirby said President Joe Biden ordered the troops to be pre-deployed and ready, adding that he was closely monitoring developments.
Kirby said there was no indication that Americans were being targeted, but it was a dangerous situation in Sudan.
He added that the best that could happen is for both sides to lay down their arms, abide by the ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Khartoum.
The U.S. State Department has previously told U.S. citizens in Sudan to stay indoors. Washington does not provide the number of U.S. citizens living or traveling in a particular country.
The US embassy in Khartoum also issued a statement on Thursday saying that due to the security situation and the closure of the airport, “it is not safe at this time for the US government to coordinate the evacuation of US citizens”.
The embassy continues to monitor the situation in and around Khartoum closely, where fighting, gun battles and security force activity continue. There were also reports of assaults, burglaries and robberies. American citizens strongly… pic.twitter.com/u6LwySN867
— US Embassy Khartoum (@USEmbassyKRT) April 20, 2023
fierce battle in sultan
The fiercest fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) took place around Khartoum, one of Africa’s largest urban areas, while Darfur is still scarred by a brutal conflict that ended three years ago.
Sudan’s military ruler, General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, heads a ruling council formed after a military coup in 2021 and the removal of veteran dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
His deputy on the committee is the paramilitary leader, General Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemeti, who analysts say could command more than 100,000 fighters.
The latest violence has been sparked by disagreements over an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government. Both sides have accused the other of obstructing the transition.
A group of four countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – joined the United Nations, the African Union and the African Union in advancing international efforts to find a political solution in Sudan. Trade Group, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Thousands of civilians have fled Khartoum, and large numbers have entered Chad to escape fighting in Darfur.
The UN refugee agency told Al Jazeera that the “vast majority” of those crossing the border into Chad are women and children.