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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » 'Help me! I don't want to die in Sudan'

'Help me! I don't want to die in Sudan'

April 20, 2023 16:28 IST
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'We are running out of food and water. There's no electricity either.'

IMAGE: People gather to get bread during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2023. Photograph: El-Tayeb Siddig/Reuters

"I cannot reveal my location. I can only say that I am in Khartoum and there are two dozen Indians in my area who are caught in this civil war," says an Indian on the phone, sounding helpless.

Amidst the ongoing WhatsApp call, one could hear the sound of firing and bombardment in the background.

"We are running out of food and water. There's no electricity either. Only WhatsApp calls are working as both the warring parties want to keep the Internet services working. Both want to establish themselves as the rightful rulers of Sudan," adds the Indian, who does not wish to be named in this report.

He soon hung up to save on the phone's battery that he is charging from electric generators.

Electric generators, the only source of power for these 24 Indians living in an undisclosed area in Khartoum, will work only till the time their diesel stock lasts.

For the last four days these Indians have been using electric generators for one hour daily -- only to charge their phones. They are not using it to power their tubelights, fans or ACs.

In Sudan, 185 people have died in the last four days in fighting between the two factions of the armed forces loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the country's de facto ruler, and the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RCF).

The RCF is a collection of militias, loyal to warlord General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti.

"Forget us. Even the Indian embassy officials are trapped. No flight services are working and the chances of peace seem bleak," says another Indian in Sudan.

"I cannot reveal my name as I don't know what will happen to us if we are tracked down. Two days ago, an Indian named Albert died in the gunfight. Please help me, I am scared. I don't want to die in Sudan," he says.

"We are running short of water and food. We don't know how long this situation will last," the caller says, making an urgent appeal for help.

Albert Augestine, a former Indian Army soldier working with the Dal group in Khartoum, was hit by a stray bullet and succumbed to injuries.

The Indian embassy in Sudan, which is on Twitter as @IndiainSudan, has tweeted an advisory to Indians stating, 'We have come across many instances of looting. All Indian nationals are advised please not to venture out. Please ration your supplies. The situation may continue for a few more days. Please try to take help from your neighbours. Please stay at home and remain safe.'

Though the Indian government is trying to coordinate with the governments of the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to evacuate its citizens, there is little hope as the warring factions are not announcing a ceasefire.

The only country that is preparing to evacuate its citizens from Sudan is Japan, which has deployed a self-defence forces aircraft for the evacuation.

Even the US has not outlined an evacuation action plan for its citizens in Sudan.

"I hope a ceasefire is announced soon and we are evacuated. The water pipelines are not working in our area. I don't know how long the water in our storage tank will last," says the first caller.

"Every drop of water is precious for us now."

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