Govt evacuates 156 from South Sudan

Govt evacuates 156 from South Sudan

Govt evacuates 156 from South Sudan

An Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft carrying 156 passengers evacuated from the strife-torn South Sudan arrived here in the early hours of Friday.

Of them, 85, including 45 Keralites, deplaned here before the aircraft left for New Delhi.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who led Operation Sankat Mochan the Centre’s initiative to evacuate Indian nationals from the African nation accompanied the passengers in the aircraft, which arrived at the international airport here at about 5 am. The evacuees included nine women, three children and two Nepalese nationals.

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Singh said “30 to 40” Indians had already booked tickets for home when commercial flights resumed services. “There are about 300 people who do not wish to be evacuated because of the business concerns and other activities that they have out there,” Singh said.

Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had earlier requested Indians to make use of the evacuation operation. “Indian nationals – Pls move out of South Sudan. We hv sent two aircrafts. If situation deteriorates, we will not be able to evacuate u (sic)”, she tweeted on Thursday.

Singh said he also met the vice-president of South Sudan, who gave him a rundown on measures taken to ensure security in the strife-hit regions. The Centre estimates that there are about 550 Indians in South Sudan.

Countries, including Germany, the UK, Japan and Italy, commenced evacuation of their citizens after a ceasefire between troops affiliated to President Salva Kiir and Vice-president Riek Machar came into force in capital Juba.

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