published by: Saurabh Verma
Last update: April 30, 2023, 8:21 p.m. HST
There was constant shelling and gunfire as the Sudanese army and a paramilitary force moved through the streets of Khartoum, recalled Deepak Agnihotri, who along with seven other people locked himself in a sub- ground before they have a chance to escape the strife-torn nation.
Conflict in the North African country erupted around mid-April and India has evacuated more than 1,950 of its citizens and is seeking to rescue more.
“We were in contact with the Indian embassy and when we got permission to move we went to Port Sudan,” said the 26-year-old, from Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, who arrived Thursday in India.
From there, “on a boat arranged by our employer, we reached Jeddah (in Saudi Arabia),” said Agnihotri, who had worked for an IT firm in Sudan since 2019.
India on Sunday brought back 229 people as part of “Operation Kaveri” to evacuate stranded Indians from Sudan. On Saturday 365 people had arrived, 754 on Friday, 246 on Thursday and the first batch of 360 evacuees reached Delhi on Wednesday.
Agnihotri told reporters here: “We were in our apartments when the conflict broke out. But as supplies dwindled, we moved to a room in the basement of our building with everything we had. we moved to Port Sudan”.
He said that after reaching Jeddah, he and others boarded an Indian Air Force transport plane and flew home. “I thank the Indian government for bringing us home safely,” Agnihotri said. “My wife returned to India on March 31 as the situation became tense,” he said, adding that the situation was worsening in the African nation.
Sudan has witnessed deadly fighting between the country’s army and a paramilitary group over the past 15 days.
As part of “Operation Kaveri”, India takes the evacuees to Jeddah from where they return home.
India has set up a transit facility in the Saudi city and Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan is overseeing the evacuation mission.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)