Students from Egypt, Nigeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Chad, South Sudan and Somalia have been left trapped in the county after fighting began on 15 April, between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
“Since earlier in the morning we have been hearing gunshots and bomb explosions”
Imran, a student from Nigeria studying medicine and surgery at the International University of Africa, is currently at its Khartoum campus.
“It’s very crazy. We have been hearing some kind of explosions of bombs. We are very scared because of the current situation. We are stranded here in the International University of Africa,” he said.
“We have been here for almost five days. There is no water, no electricity and no food. We have been waiting for buses to arrive that will take us from here in Khartoum, to the Egyptian border.
“Since earlier in the morning we have been hearing gunshots and bomb explosions… A lot of students are very scared, some are hungry, some are sick… The shops are closed, the situation is very sad,” Imran added.
Abubakar Sadiq, another student from the International University of Africa, is currently sheltering with five other students in an apartment away from his university campus.
“We went to the camp earlier in the morning around 5.30am, but until now there’s no presence of the embassy officials and not any update from them.
“As we were waiting for them, we witnessed the worst experience of our lives, fighter jets flying above our heads, dropping bombs near our camp, not more than a kilometre away… students are hopeless and helpless.”
Sadiq said that the International University of Africa is surrounded with camps of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, currently being fought by the Sudanese army.
The students’ reports of gunfire and explosions come despite a three-day ceasefire due to expire on Thursday night. The ceasefire has now been extended by 72 hours.
“[On Wednesday] night a Nigerian student went outside and was attacked by some people, some strangers in the area. He has received treatment earlier in the morning today,” Imran told The PIE.
“We are devastated by the current situation, we are all scared honestly because we have never experienced such a terrible situation,” he added.
“We are devastated by the current situation”
It is thought at least 5,000 of the international students trying to leave Sudan are Nigerian, as previously reported by The PIE.
The Nigerian government has made plans to evacuate an initial batch of 3,500 students stranded beginning on April 25.
The country’s National Emergency Management Agency said that the group would be driven to the Cairo by bus and then will be flown home.
“In an attempt to evacuate, we should be mindful of the fact that we do not want to lose any life to it. But now that there’s a window, the government is exploring that window to get these people back to safety,” an official of the agency Onimode Bandele said.
Imran told The PIE News that around 10 buses arrived on Wednesday – but estimates suggest around 2,000 students remain.
He explained that there were disputes among drivers of the buses and the Nigerian authorities around pay, that resulted in international students being left stranded in the Sahara.
This situation has now reportedly been resolved.
Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has agreed to support a further 72-hour ceasefire in a statement, according to Reuters. This ceasefire was due to expire at midnight on Thursday.