The Nigerian government said Wednesday that it had begun evacuating thousands of its nationals, mostly students, from Sudan, which is in the midst of fighting, by road to Egypt.
"The evacuation of our nationals has begun. Seven buses have left Khartoum and are heading to Egypt," Manzo Ezekiel, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency of Nigeria (Nema) told AFP.
In all, some 40 buses have been hired to transport the stranded Nigerians, according to Ezekiel, who said 3,500 Nigerians were to be transported initially to Aswan, in neighboring Egypt.
"We think there are more than 5,000 Nigerians (in Sudan) but for now we are talking about 3,500, including students, who will be transported in buses to Aswan in Egypt," said Tuesday to AFP the director of special missions of the Nema, Onimode Bandele.
According to him, the trip "will take some time because Khartoum is about 1,200 kilometers from Aswan.
Once they arrive in Aswan, the evacuated Nigerians will be flown to Abuja, the Nigerian capital. The local airline Air Peace has volunteered to fly the Nigerians for free.
Foreign countries are trying to organize the flight of their citizens out of Sudan, which has been in the grip of intense fighting for 12 days between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo and the regular army of Abdel Fattah al-Burhane.
These two generals, who staged the coup in October 2021, are now engaged in a merciless war for power, which has resulted in several hundred deaths and a massive exodus.
Western powers have sent special forces and military aircraft to repatriate their nationals and diplomatic personnel.
Many other countries began evacuations by road and sea shortly after the 72-hour U.S.-brokered cease-fire went into effect Tuesday.
Since fighting between paramilitaries and the regular army began on April 15, more than 459 people have been killed and more than 4,000 wounded, according to the UN.
Those who cannot leave Khartoum, a city of more than five million people, are trying to survive without water and electricity, subject to food shortages and telephone and internet cuts.