The US Embassy in Sudan was evacuated on Sunday when US special operations forces swept in and out of Khartoum with helicopters that remained on the ground for less than an hour, the Associated Press reported.
With no shots fired and no casualties reported and the final US embassy employees evacuated, the US closed its diplomatic mission indefinitely leaving behind thousands of private US citizens. According to US officials, a broader evacuation operation to rescue the Americans left behind would be too dangerous.
In a statement from the White House, President Biden thanked the troops and said his team was providing regular reports on the efforts to help the Americans remaining in Sudan “to the extent possible.” The president called for an end to the violence in Sudan.
The approximately 100 special operators carried out the evacuation with three MH-47 helicopters. The approximately 70 Americans from the embassy were airlifted from a landing zone and transported to an undisclosed location in Ethiopia. According to Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee, Ethiopia provided refueling and overflight support to the evacuation.
Fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15 between the two military commanders, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who together orchestrated a military coup 18 months ago.
The resulting violence included an attack on a US diplomatic convoy and multiple incidents in which foreign aid workers and diplomats were assaulted, injured, or killed.
It is believed approximately 16,000 US citizens are currently in Sudan. The exact number is unknown since not all US citizens register with the embassy when they arrive or depart the country.
On Saturday, the US embassy issued an alert, warning citizens of the “uncertain security situation” in the Sudanese capital and the closing of the Khartoum airport. The embassy notified private citizens that undertaking a government-coordinated evacuation was not “currently safe.”