New Delhi : 278 Indians from war-torn Sudan leave for India

New Delhi : 278 Indians from war-torn Sudan leave for India

54 expatriates from Andhra identified in Sudan, 34 reach safety: Official

New Delhi : The first batch of 278 Indian citizens from war-torn Sudan on Tuesday left the African nation to return back home, as they boarded the Indian Navy warship INS Sumedha from Port Sudan to be ferried to Saudi Arabia's Jeddah.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted pictures of Indians boarding INS Sumedha at Port Sudan. Some of them could be seen waving the Indian flag while on board the carrier. "First batch of stranded Indians leave Sudan under Operation Kaveri. INS Sumedha with 278 people onboard departs Port Sudan for Jeddah," he posted.

The evacuation process named Operation Kaveri, started on April 23, as apart from INS Sumedha, two Indian Air Force aircraft were sent to bring back Indian citizens stuck in Sudan's capital Khartoum, where civil war broke out on April 15 after its army and paramilitary forces clashed with each other, leading to large scale violence, which has led to the death of hundreds of people, including an Indian citizen.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had undertaken a review meeting with top officials on the situation prevailing in Sudan. He had asked for the preparation of a contingency plan to evacuate Indians stuck in that country.

There are around 3,000 Indians in Sudan. The security situation in Sudan continues to be volatile with reports of fierce fighting coming from several parts of the country.

As many as 34 of the 54 expatriates with origins from Andhra Pradesh currently stuck in violence-hit Sudan have been found to be safe, AP Non-Resident Telugu Society (APNRTS) president Medapati Venkat said on Tuesday.

Officials from the government-run society confirmed that the 34 expatriates have already reached Port Sudan by the coast of the Red Sea and they are expected to proceed further to a safer place. Though the remaining 20 people could not get in touch with APNRTS, Venkat said efforts were underway to reach out them and noted that they could be just 30 kilometres from conflict zone, hinting that all of them are safe. "We could not get in touch with them due to telecom signal issues," he said, adding that the society is reaching out on behalf of the Andhra Pradesh government. According to Venkat, all the 54 are not at the same place but APNRTS has created a Whatsapp group for them to stay in touch.

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