A Nigerian student stranded in Sudan has said she and others trapped in the crisis-ridden country are being surrounded by criminals.
About 4000 Nigerians are trapped as a result of fighting between forces loyal to Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Hundreds have been killed since the fight broke out between the forces of the two rival generals in Khartoum, capital of Sudan.
Fauziyya Idris Safiyo, a Nigerian student who managed to flee Khartoum to the border town of Gallabat on Sudan-Ethiopian shores, said the situation is getting out of control.
“We could hear gunfire and bomb explosions from every direction. Jet fighters are firing shelling too. There’s no food, water and medicine. We couldn’t travel to anywhere. We run out of money. And there’s surge of criminals all over,” she said.
According to her, many countries have started evacuation of their nationals however there’s nothing regarding evacuation of Nigerians in the East African country.
“It’s only Nigerians left stranded with many women among us. Some neighboring countries like Ethiopia do not allow Nigerians to enter their countries without a visa,” she added.
Speaking about the difficult situation they live in, Muhammad Nura Bello, President of Nigerian Students of Sudan International University, said there is total blackout and even the Sudaneses are also fleeing.
“Most of the students are very apprehensive as some had run out of their foodstuffs and you can see even the nationals are fleeing,” she said.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has also called on the Federal Government to ensure stranded Nigerians in Sudan are evacuated without further delay.
National President of AYCF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima in a statement on Saturday expressed dismay over the excuse by the Nigerian embassy that it will be difficult to evacuate the citizens due to one challenge or the other.
According to Shettima, the excuses from evacuating the over 4000 citizens trapped in Sudan is totally unacceptable, adding that majority of Nigerians in the situation are Northerners.
He stressed that AYCF will hold the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan accountable if nothing happens to their Northern brothers and sisters, especially their young ones schooling in Sudan.
Yerima said: “As concerned Nigerians who are very uncomfortable with the fate of Nigerians trapped in Sudan due to ongoing war and killings, we feel duty bound to unequivocally state our final stand on this bloodshed and arson.
“It is totally unacceptable that while several countries were evacuating their citizens from Sudan, ours is the only African nation giving excuses.
“With thousands of Nigerians in Sudan, especially male and female Northern students being the majority, we reject the lame excuse given in a letter by the Nigeria Embassy about the difficulty of evacuating our sons and daughters. No Northerner in this country is at peace since the killings and arson started in Sudan.
“We are aware that the Sudanese government had already warned that the situation would escalate, and gave 72 hours ultimatum for countries whose citizens are either doing business or schooling in that country to be evacuated.
“We cannot fathom why all we get at the moment is the excuse by our Embassy that doing so would be difficult. What held us from taking advantage of the 72 hours ultimatum in the first place?
“It is abundantly clear that lives are now at stake, especially for our Northern brothers and sisters schooling in Sudan, considering the escalation of this war, that involves the use of heavy-duty incendiary.
“As a group, we wish to make it categorically clear that if our innocent Northern brothers and sisters schooling in Sudan get killed in this war, we shall hold the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan accountable.
“We wish to emphasize that on no account should these young and innocent Nigerians be left to their own devices, because they have a fatherland that has the constitutional and legal responsibility to protect the lives of citizens anywhere they are on this planet.”
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has reiterated its determination to rescue stranded Nigerians in Sudan as a result of the ongoing crisis.
NEMA, in a statement yesterday, by the Head of Media, Ezekiel Manzo, noted that the Agency had set up a committee of professional emergency responders, search and rescue experts to arrest the situation.
Manzo said: “The attention of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is drawn to the widespread public concern on the situation in Sudan especially in regards to the ongoing conflict and the safety as well as well-being of stranded Nigerian citizens including hundreds of students in various universities of the country.
“It has become necessary to inform the public that NEMA is in constant communication with all relevant partners including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and security agencies while seeking for an appropriate window of opportunity to evacuate all stranded Nigerians back home in a safe and dignified manner.
“The current emergency situation in Sudan is very complex with fighting between waring factions going on and all airports and land boarders closed. NEMA is working assiduously with all its partners and is constantly compiling updated information on the situation.
“A committee has been set up comprising of professional emergency responders, search and rescue experts to constantly evaluate the situation and seek for the safest way to evacuate the Nigerian citizens even if it is through a country neigbouring Sudan.”