The Pentagon is repositioning troops near the country of Sudan to prepare for a possible embassy evacuation as the nation devolves into civil war.
The Defense Department moved additional troops and equipment to a naval base in Djibouti, a small African country on the Gulf of Aden, to prepare for the potential evacuation, The Associated Press reported. The Pentagon said publicly it was deploying “additional capabilities” to the region but did not provide specifics.
The Pentagon is moving troops to the African nation of Djibouti to prepare for an evacuation of U.S. Embassy staff from Sudan, where fierce fighting between two warring generals has trapped people in the capital, Khartoum, according to officials. https://t.co/tnXv21TA5N
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 20, 2023
Planning for an evacuation reportedly intensified after an American diplomatic convoy came under fire in Sudan on Monday. Fighting broke out in the country earlier this week between two rival factions, loyal to two warring military leaders who had been co-governing until negotiations toward a democratic process recently collapsed.
The State Department said Thursday that all embassy staff in Khartoum are currently safe and accounted for, but that the conditions on the ground are not currently stable enough for an evacuation of the staff or of other American citizens in the country. The department estimates that about 16,000 American citizens are in the country, but cautioned the figure is likely somewhat inaccurate. Americans in Sudan are being advised to shelter in place and avoid traveling on the streets. (RELATED: Two Dead After Sudanese Authorities Clash With Anti-Military Government Protesters)
Khartoum’s airport has been shut down and control over the area is disputed. The last time the United States conducted a ground evacuation of embassy personnel was in Libya in 2014, although it is unclear what methods could be used to do so in Sudan. At least 330 people have been killed in the several days of fighting so far, according to the most recent estimates, and an agreed ceasefire earlier this week failed almost immediately.