Defence Forces team deployed to help evacuate Irish citizens from 'extremely volatile' Sudan

Defence Forces team deployed to help evacuate Irish citizens from 'extremely volatile' Sudan

UP to a dozen Irish Defence Forces personnel are to be deployed to Sudan to help evacuate Irish citizens from the country.

Now entering its second week, the latest conflict in the country is most intense in the capital Khartoum and has so far claimed around 400 lives.

General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, head of the Sudanese Armed Forces, is embroiled in a power struggle with Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and his paramilitary faction the Rapid Support Forces.

With more than 150 Irish citizens in Sudan, the Irish Government has now approved the deployment of Defence Forces personnel as part of an Emergency Civil Assistance Team (ECAT) mission.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the situation on the ground in Sudan 'remains extremely volatile' (Image: Leah Farrell/

"The situation in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has got worse in the last few days, and violence is being reported across the city," said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today.

"The Irish Defence Forces personnel and Department of Foreign Affairs officers being deployed will make every effort to provide advice and assistance to the 150 or so Irish nationals in Sudan.

"The situation on the ground in Sudan remains extremely volatile and I wish the ECAT and Defence Forces team every success in this mission."

Evacuation operations

The ECAT mission will provide consular and other assistance to Irish citizens and their dependents being evacuated from Sudan.

Up to 12 Defence Forces personnel will be deployed initially to Djibouti as part of the mission, which is being led by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in conjunction with the Department of Defence.

The DFA is in ongoing contact with Irish citizens in Sudan and departmental officials are due to arrive at the Irish Embassy in Nairobi today,

The department has also been working with international partners to arrange the evacuation of Irish citizens.

France has been leading the immediate evacuation of EU citizens from Khartoum.

However, the evacuation operation has proved highly sensitive given the volatile security situation on the ground.

Sudanese Armed Forces soldiers, loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, sit atop a tank in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan on Thursday (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking today, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the welfare of Irish citizens in Sudan is a priority for the government.

"Today's decision by government is a continuation of the substantial, intensive work that the Department of Foreign Affairs has been engaged in since this recent outbreak of violence in Sudan," said Mr Martin.

"Above all, our primary aim is to offer our citizens every assistance through what has been an extremely difficult and challenging time."