Nigerian students have appealed to the Nigerian government to evacuate them from Sudan where fighting between the military and a para-military force has killed hundreds of people.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how fighting erupted in the capital city, Khartoum, on Saturday between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) over political power in the crisis torn country.
The Nigerian students on Wednesday in a memo by their association said they were stranded, with no access to basic needs.
“Fear, panic and desperation are one of the few emotions we are currently feeling. Our lives are not safe,” Sumyyah Yusuf, a second year medical student at Sudan International University in Khartoum, said to PREMIUM TIMES.
Ms Yusuf said it had become difficult to access anything, including food, water, and electricity because it is unsafe to go out and most stores are either shut or empty.
She said they (students) were trying to stay in touch with each other through social media. Although they had received a memo from the Nigerian embassy in Sudan reassuring them, she said “we need more action.”
Ms Yusuf said she wants Nigeria “to get its nationals out of here (Sudan), swiftly and safely.”
Sadiq Haruna, an Islamic Studies graduate from the International University of Africa, Khartoum confirmed the students have no way of confirming if the memo was from the Nigerian embassy in Sudan.
He said the condition where he lives, “is a little bit better” after they had witnessed the worst days of their lives.
“We from the IUA and students that live around IUA experienced the worst day of our lives and this is because the RSF base is right behind the male and female hostels and most of the attacks that were launched were on us. For three days and nights, we witnessed this rough scenario,” he narrated.
According to Mr Haruna, female students had been evacuated by the university from their hostels to staff accomodations for safety.
He added that the students had also come under several forms of attacks including theft. He said some students were moving to parts of the country that are relatively peaceful.
According to news reports, the fighting is happening in major cities like Khartoum and Merowe.
Mr Haruna appealed to the government to come to their rescue as it did to Nigerian students in Ukraine.
“It is taking time and we do not want to lose anyone but we are on the verge…,” he appealed.
This reporter heard the sound of gunshots in the backgroung while speaking with Mr Haruna.
Nigerian government speaks
However, the federal government through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), had early Thursday said it received the letter from the students’ association.
NIDCOM in a statement signed by Gabriel Odu assured that the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) was consulting with the Nigerian mission in Sudan and other relevant agencies .
It urged all Nigerian Students in Sudan as well as Nigerians living in thecountry to be security conscious and calm.
An official copy of the memo the students spoke about was seen by PREMIUM TIMES in a WhatsApp group “Nigerian Community in Sudan.”
It was shared by a user who signed off their messages with ‘ambassador’ but gave no names.
The Embassy in the letter, appealed to Nigerian nationals to exercise caution and restraint, noting that it is in touch with all the relevant stakeholders in Khartoum and Abuja, respectively, for protection and well-being of Nigerians in Sudan.
“The Embassy is making plans for possible evacuation of Nigerian Nationals with approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria as soon as the situation allows it and you will be communicated in due course,” the letter said.
The memo attributed to the ambassador urged nations to stay safe and be wary of fake news circulating in social media, adding that the Embassy will keep a close contact with the leadership of all the Nigerian Union for further consular assistance and updates.
The fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary RSF has entered its sixth day after four failed ceasefire attempts.
At least 300 people have died in the fighting and almost 3,200 more have been wounded in Khartoum, the western region of Darfur and other states, Ahmed Al-Mandhari of the World Health Organisation says.
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