Indians stranded in Sudan complain that their accommodations lack electricity and food.

Several Indians who were stuck in Sudan spoke to The Hindu about the situation there.
Indians stranded in Sudan complain that their accommodations lack electricity and food.

The major dangers to Indians in Sudan, which is embroiled in fighting between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), are a lack of electricity, food and water, as well as indiscriminate shooting and bombing.

Several stranded Indians provided The Hindu with information about the situation in Sudan in response to an acrimonious online discussion between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and former Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah regarding the plight of Indian nationals in Sudan.

Also see | 181 Karnataka residents trapped in Sudan due to food and water shortages

On April 19, sources stated that the Ministry and the Embassy of India in Sudan were "continuously monitoring" the developments in the troubled African nation and that the authorities were in contact with "The Quartet" nations — the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — to ensure the safety of Indian nationals in Sudan.

For five days, there is no electricity at our hotel. Supplies of food and water are scarce. The paramilitary men ransacked the hotel earlier today. The paramilitary hasn't allowed repairs, and much of Khartoum has been without electricity as well, an Indian national who was calling from the capital of Sudan claimed.

He argued that the government should use international peacekeeping to safeguard Indian citizens' safety because theft by the paramilitary side was such a serious issue.

Another regular visitor to Sudan who is from Mumbai claimed that as the airport turned into a scene of fighting between the two sides, he had to walk several km before finding safety in a hotel that is now without electricity and is forced to ration food.

"From early in the morning until late at night, there is bombing and firing. The Rapid Support Forces, which had a base outside the capital and were weak in the capital where the Sudanese Armed Forces were dominant, are now attempting to get the upper hand. We soon won't be able to charge our phones, and the violence prevents us from even considering leaving the house, the tourist stated.

The UAE's and Saudi Arabia's equivalents have spoken with the minister of external affairs. Both parties have pledged to provide real-world assistance. The governments of our ambassador in Washington, DC, and high commissioner in London are in communication with one another. We also collaborate with the UN, which has a sizable presence in Sudan, according to a reliable source.

Prior to their capture in various areas around Sudan, the Ministry established a special Control Room (toll-free number 1800118797) for the roughly 1,500 Indian nationals who are there.

Also Read | Fighting breaks out in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, and Indians there are being urged to stay indoors  

The Sudanese Armed Forces are known to have strong relations with Moscow, according to an Indian national who talked to The Hindu from Khartoum under the condition of anonymity. He urged the Indian government to cooperate with Russia.

In a previous statement, Mr. Jaishankar had called Mr. Siddaramaiah's participation in the case "appalling" after the venerable Congressman had mentioned that at least 31 members of the Hakki Pikki clan from Karnataka were in Sudan.

Mr. Jaishankar had said, "There are lives at stake: don't play politics." Jairam Ramesh, the director of communications for the Congress, also made a comment about the statement, calling it "a most appalling response."

The battle between the RSF and the SAF, which was the cause of the exchange, briefly overshadowed the circumstances facing the Indian minority in Sudan.

While the SAF supports a shift within the next two years, the RSF advocates a delayed transition. According to claims made by the paramilitary, the SAF supports Islamists and include Islamic Brotherhood members among its ranks. The SAF's commander, General Fattah al Burhan, has asserted that he wants to unify leadership of the SAF over the RSF.

The conflict between the paramilitary and the military is centred on one specific subject known as Security Sector Reform (SSR).

The Janjaweed militia, which was once infamous for military abuses during the Darfur conflict and resulted in significant displacement and human rights violations in the Darfur area of Sudan, has developed into the RSF, which is commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

Leading international powers with a presence in the Sudanese theatre include Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with Sudanese experts highlighting an expanding Egyptian military presence in northern Sudan. The present political unrest in Sudan began in the wake of the longtime leader Omar al-Bashir's downfall. In October 2015, he had visited India for the India-Africa Forum Summit.

An Indian resident of Khartoum had informed The Hindu that there were several Indians dispersed across the city, some of whom had sought safety at a well-known hotel.

"The situation on the street is really tight, and moving is extremely dangerous at this point. Our top priorities are people's freedom of mobility and health, no matter where they are. Although the Ministry and the Embassy are constantly monitoring the situation, safety and security concerns prevent us from releasing precise information, the source added.