Sudan’s RSF transfer Egyptian soldiers from Marawi airport to Khartoum amidst clashes with army

Ahram Online , Wednesday 19 Apr 2023

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) declared on Wednesday that the Egyptian soldiers – who were in Sudan for training purposes – have been relocated from Marawi airport to the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

File Photo: Army soldiers deploy in Khartoum on April 15, 2023. AFP


On its official Twitter account, the RSF reassured the Egyptian government and the families of the soldiers – who had been stuck at the Marawi airport since Saturday amid the ongoing clashes – that they are safe and sound and receiving the necessary care.

“They [the soldiers] will be handed over when the appropriate opportunity arises, and according to the conditions the country is going through,” the RSF said.

The Egyptian government has yet to comment on the relocation.

In the early hours of Tuesday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reiterated that the presence of Egyptian forces in Sudan is solely for training purposes and not to support any particular party, affirming that intensive communications are taking place to ensure their safety.

The Marawi airport, which includes a military base, is located in the Sudanese Northern State’s Marawi region – 350 kilometres north of the capital, Khartoum.

On Saturday, the Egyptian Armed Forces said in a statement that it "is coordinating with the concerned parties in Sudan to ensure securing the Egyptian troops who were conducting joint training with their Sudanese counterparts."

The Egyptian Armed Forces statement was issued shortly after the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed Hamdan "Hemedti" Dagalo, released a video on its official Twitter account showing several personnel wearing Egyptian military fatigues who were purportedly apprehended at Marawi airbase in northern Sudan.

Late on Saturday, Hemedti, apologised for the released videos in remarks to Sky News Arabia, stressing that he was willing to cooperate to return them to Egypt.

On Monday, Adviser to the RSF head Ahmed Abdeen also apologized for any "individual behaviour" towards the soldiers, in remarks to Al-Jazeera.

Violence in Sudan erupted early on Saturday between the forces of two generals who seized power in 2021: Army Chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan "Hemedti" Dagalo, who commands the paramilitary RSF.

Thousands of Sudanese have fled Khartoum, according to AFP on Wednesday, as fighting between the army and paramilitaries raged for a fifth day after a 24-hour truce collapsed. Around 200 civilians are estimated to have been killed in the fighting so far.

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