What's happening in Sudan?
Military clashes erupted in Khartoum, Omdurman and other urban centres across Sudan on the morning of 15th April, between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) group and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). The conflict is a continuation of an ongoing power struggle between the two parties and their leaders.
Small-arms fire, airstrikes and armoured vehicle movements were reported in multiple areas, including Khartoum International Airport (KRT) before spreading to numerous other areas of the capital. Looting has occurred in Khartoum and along major routes. As of 25th April, at least 459 people have been killed countrywide, and more than 3,700 people have been injured, although the exact numbers are likely to be much higher.
The conflict has entered its eleventh consecutive day. Limited reports on the ground indicate that low-level fighting has continued on 25th April despite a 72-hour ceasefire enacted from 00h01 (local time). The current longevity of the conflict is exacerbating shortages of basic goods and fuel. Critical infrastructure has been heavily damaged by clashes, leading to unstable connections with telecommunications and internet networks.
Several countries have engaged in evacuations of their nationals through different means and routes. Evacuation efforts have intensified in the past 48 hours, with more of a focus on all foreign nationals rather than only diplomatic personnel.
The situation is unlikely to improve in the short-term
The situation remains highly fluid with the conflict unlikely to end in the short term (24-72 hours). Healix anticipates that the conflict will re-intensify after the 72-hour ceasefire ends. The security environment is almost certain to remain EXTREME.
Urban warfare is likely to continue to be attritional, with neither side making significant or conclusive gains in the coming days. As the departures of diplomatic missions and evacuations of foreign nationals progress, the international community’s leverage in securing a ceasefire will dampen. The risk of indiscriminate attacks in residential and other civilian areas of Khartoum will increase. Military airstrikes and fighting will concentrate around RSF-linked facilities and critical infrastructures, such as airports and key routes.
Operational manoeuvrability in Khartoum is highly likely to remain constrained. The prevalence of checkpoints restricts the permissibility of ground moves, with reports of RSF troops harassing individuals attempting vehicular travel, increasing the personal risks. Attacks on moving diplomatic targets reflect the significant risks associated with undertaking evacuations. The fighting in metropolitan areas increases the likelihood of civilians attempting vehicular travel being incidentally hit by gunfire from both SAF and RSF troops.
Looting will continue to pose a credible risk for both local and foreign nationals whose residences/compounds or vehicles may be targeted. It will also further deplete the availability of essential goods, including food, water, fuel and medication. Disruptions to communications are almost certain to continue in the short-term, as critical infrastructure has been damaged during the fighting. This will decrease the reliability of the information on the ground.
State-sponsored evacuation flights are likely to continue in the coming days, at least until the end of the ceasefire on 27th April. Evacuation operations are not utilising Khartoum International Airport (KRT) owing to ongoing artillery strikes and military operations, with flights either using airfields outside of Khartoum or conducting ground moves to locations such as Port Sudan. It is likely these operations will continue to focus on diplomatic and embassy staff as more complex or high-capacity evacuations are hampered by the security risks. It is not always clear whether foreign governments plan to evacuate embassy staff or all of their foreign nationals. Some governments are also evacuating other nationalities, although it is not always apparent when it is the case. International evacuation efforts will continue to explore all means and routes available, such as ground moves to Ethiopia or Egypt.
Advice for organisations
- Account for all personnel in Sudan and ensure they are in secure accommodation. Check that they have access to food and water and are able to shelter in place for at least 72 hours.
- Take the necessary measures to enable the evacuation of workforce as soon as a feasible option is available. Ensure that personnel have up-to-date passports, means to transfer to evacuation assembly areas, and evacuation manifests and required visas.
- Ensure that robust, flexible and practical evacuation and contingency plans are in place, which can be implemented effectively and take into account limited external support.
- Conduct check-ins with personnel in Sudan at least twice per day. Make sure travellers are tracking via the Healix Travel Oracle app.
- Review communications plans with staff and assets in-country and ensure these remain actionable. This should include alternative means of communication, a check-in schedule with personnel and lost communications procedures.
- Monitor multi-source intelligence advisories, consular messages and liaise with local sources for updates on the situation in your particular areas of operations. Liaise with the Healix Global Security Operations Centre for the most up-to-date information and analysis.
- Liaise with Healix or security providers regarding evacuation planning to ensure this can be conducted at the earliest safe opportunity.
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