The third convoy reached the coastal city on Monday, following the arrival of two convoys over the weekend, State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel confirmed. The evacuees included American citizens, their family members, and nationals from allied and partner countries.
The three convoys assisted a total of about 700 people, amid clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces that have led to a crisis in Sudan. This number doesn’t include the roughly 1,000 U.S. citizens that have already left the country. Approximately 5,000 U.S. citizens in Sudan have sought the American government’s guidance, Patel said, adding, “We have sent and responded to more than 25,000 emails and 1000s of phone calls and text messages providing information coordination and assistance to US citizens.”
The safe arrival of the third convoy comes after more than 100 U.S. citizens finally made it to the safety of a port in Saudi Arabia Monday. Some were aboard a second convoy of buses that left Sudan’s battle-scarred capital of Khartoum on Friday, making the 500-mile drive to reach Port Sudan on the country’s east coast.
Eligible evacuees arriving at Port Sudan will travel by boat across the Red Sea to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where U.S. officials will assist them with consular and emergency services. The State Department has transferred personnel from Washington, in addition to Djibouti, Nicosia, and Nairobi, to assist the Americans fleeing Sudan. A U.S. naval craft with military personnel seen on deck arrived at Port Sudan on Sunday, CBS News foreign correspondent Ramy Inocencio reported.
Patel said he wasn’t aware of private vessels that were serving as alternative modes of evacuation.
“I will note that our conveys were not a hundred percent full either, just given the ongoing fluid security situation,” he said.
The death toll in Sudan has climbed to more than 500, according to the World Health Organization, with thousands more wounded, leading to an exodus from Africa’s third-largest country. Sudan’s warring generals agreed to send representatives for negotiations, potentially in Saudi Arabia, Volker Perthes, the top U.N. official in the country, told the Associated Press on Monday, even as the two sides clashed in the capital of Khartoum despite another three-day extension of a fragile cease-fire.