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Ship carrying 37 Pakistanis from Sudan port reaches Jeddah: FO

Fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15 between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

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A ship carrying 37 Pakistani nationals from Sudan — where fighting between the army and paramilitaries has killed and wounded hundreds — arrived in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on Wednesday, the Foreign Office (FO) said.

“Evacuation plan for Pakistani nationals in Sudan continues. The ship carrying 37 Pakistani nationals from Port Sudan arrives in Jeddah,” it said in a tweet.

“They were received by CG in Jeddah, Khalid Majid on arrival at Jeddah Port. We are grateful to the Government of KSA for its support & hospitality,” the FO added.

Read more: Sudan in crisis: Calls for ceasefire and humanitarian aid

According to the Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministry, the boat with 1,687 civilians from more than 50 countries arrived in the kingdom today, which is the largest rescue effort by the Gulf state to date.

The group was “transported by one of the Kingdom’s ships, and the Kingdom was keen to provide all the basic needs of foreign nationals in preparation for their departure,” it said in a statement.

Fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15 between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

At least 459 people had been killed and more than 4,000 as of Tuesday across Africa’s third-biggest country, according to UN agencies.

three-day US-brokered ceasefire between the warring generals brought some calm to the capital on Tuesday, but witnesses reported fresh air strikes and paramilitaries claimed to have seized a major oil refinery and power plant.

Saudi Arabia has received several rounds of evacuees by air and sea, starting with boats that arrived in Jeddah on Saturday carrying 150 people including foreign diplomats and officials.

Read more: 427 Pakistanis safely arrive in Port Sudan for repatriation

On Monday, a C-130 Hercules military plane flew dozens of South Korean civilians to Jeddah’s King Abdullah Air Base, and a boat ferried nearly 200 people from 14 countries across the Red Sea from Port Sudan.

Thirteen of the civilians who arrived on Wednesday were Saudi, while the rest came from countries across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and North and Central America, the foreign ministry statement said.

All told, 2,148 people have been evacuated to the kingdom from Sudan so far, including more than 2,000 foreigners, the statement added.

A day earlier, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had said that more than 200 Pakistanis were evacuated to safety in chaos-torn Sudan, bringing the total number of rescued nationals to 700.

“In keeping with the commitment of the Government of Pakistan to the welfare of overseas Pakistanis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to lead in the relief and rescue of Pakistanis in Sudan. Today, another convoy carrying 211 Pakistanis dispatched from Khartoum has arrived in Port Sudan,” the minister said in a statement.

The ceasefire between Sudan’s warring generals entered its second day today but remained fragile after witnesses reported fresh air strikes and paramilitaries claimed to have seized a major oil refinery and power plant.

“The pause was not fully upheld, with attacks on headquarters, attempts to gain ground, air strikes, and explosions in different areas of the capital,” UN Special Representative Volker Perthes told the Security Council a day earlier.

Perthes said he maintained contact with both generals: army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the heavily armed paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

“There is yet no unequivocal sign that either is ready to seriously negotiate,” Perthes said.

Security fears were compounded when the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a “huge biological risk” after fighters occupied a Khartoum laboratory holding samples of cholera, measles, polio and other infectious diseases.