White House spokesman John Kirby said on Monday it’s not safe to evacuate the remaining Americans out of Sudan as two powerful rival military factions battle it out for control of the east African nation.
‘We’re going to do everything we can to help guide people, get them the information they need to get out safely. But it is not safe right now for another evacuation attempt. That would actually put Americans in more danger, not less,’ Kirby, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said on CBS Mornings.
He said the administration is ‘advising all Americans, those who didn’t take the warning, to get out, to shelter in place. This is not the time to be moving around the city.’
An estimated 16,000 private U.S. citizens are registered with the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum as being in Sudan. But officials argue that number, cautioning it could be too high.
‘That number is an estimate. We don’t have great confidence in that number precisely,’ Kirby said on ABC’s Good Morning America. ‘I would tell you most of those are dual nationals. These are people that grew up in Sudan, work in Sudan, families are in Sudan and they want to stay in Sudan.’
American special operations forces rushed in and out of Khartoum in helicopters on early Sunday to evacuate embassy personnel. The MH-47 Chinook helicopters held more than four dozen of the Navy’s elite SEAL team 6 commandos and landed near the U.S. embassy.
A security cordon guarded the aircraft and almost 90 people boarded to be evacuated to Ethiopia, where they relocated to a plane that flew them to Camp Lemonnier, the American military base in Djibouti.
Several other foreign governments – including Britain, Germany and France – have also evacuated their diplomatic personnel.
While the U.S. said it was too perilous to remove American civilians, other nations have evacuated their citizens as well as their diplomats, including Italy, Germany and France.
Kirby acknowledged that some U.S. civilians were in a U.N.-led convoy in route to the Red Sea, which the U.S. was observing.
‘There are several dozen Americans making their way through Sudan in a U.N. led convoy, a convoy over which the U.S. has got some intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to ensure their safety. We still have military forces, prepositioned in the region ready to respond if need be,’ he said on GMA.
‘But right now it’s not very safe to try to run some larger evacuation either out of the nearby air base or even just like we did the other night because the fighting is so intense. The safest thing Americans can do, those who decide to stay despite warnings to leave, it is a shelter in place and not to move around too much.’
“It is not safe right now for another evacuation attempt”: National Security Council Communications Coordinator John Kirby says there are thousands of Americans living and working in Sudan — adding that a mission to evacuate those citizens could put them in more danger. pic.twitter.com/voArFphNHG
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) April 24, 2023
Foreign governments used a combination of resources to evacuate their citizens.
British and French diplomats were guided to an airfield outside the city to exit on military cargo planes.
Saudi Arabia charted a boat to carry its diplomats across the Red Sea.
France brought out nearly 400 people, including citizens from 28 countries, on four flights to the nearby nation of Djibouti.
Germany has managed three flights out of Sudan, bringing more than 300 people out to Jordan.
Italy, Spain, Jordan and Greece also brought out a total of several hundred more people, including their own citizens and those of other countries.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted that U.K. armed forces evacuated British diplomatic staff and dependents.
But Britain’s Middle East Minister Andrew Mitchell said about 2,000 U.K. citizens still in Sudan have registered with the embassy for potential evacuation.
REPORT: White House TURNS THEIR BACK on close to 16,000 US citizens in Sudan after brutal fighting between rival military factions – Says it's NOT SAFE to evacuate Americans out..
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) April 24, 2023
Why are there thousands of Americans in Sudan to begin with????
— Matt Couch (@RealMattCouch) April 24, 2023
Biden leaves Americans behind in Sudan but evacuates the American diplomats.
I can’t believe another US Embassy abandons Americans.
This is not the Foreign Service way….the State Department is better than this chaos. https://t.co/qvhw56IYU9
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 24, 2023
A civil war has broke out in Sudan leaving thousands of American citizens stranded and facing potential violence.
How has Biden responded? The same way he did in Afghanistan.
Leaving Americans behind.
Sad day for America
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) April 23, 2023