Friday 28 April 2023

Sudan War: Evacuation plane shot while landing

A Turkish evacuation plane was fired at in Sudan on Friday, with the Sudanese army claiming the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that it is battling were responsible.

Sources insist evacuations will continue as Sudanese army blames RSF paramilitaries for the attack.

The aircraft was landing at Wadi Seyidna airport north of Khartoum as part of efforts to evacuate Turkish citizens from the war-torn country.   

Turkey’s defence ministry said light weapons were fired at its C-130 evacuation plane.   

The Sudanese army earlier said that a member of the crew was wounded in the incident and fuel supplies were damaged. 

But the Turkish defence ministry later said no-one was harmed.   

“Our plane landed safely. Although there are no injuries to our personnel, necessary controls are also carried out on our aircraft,” it said.     

Turkish sources familiar with the evacuation told Middle East Eye that Ankara informed both the army and the RSF before beginning its air evacuation operation.   

More than 500 people have been killed since violence broke out on 15 April between the Sudanese army and RSF over plans to integrate the paramilitary force into the regular military as part of a transitional political deal.   

For the past three days the warring parties had agreed to uphold a ceasefire, although sporadic fighting has persisted.   

On Thursday evening, there were clashes around Wadi Seyidna airport after RSF forces seized areas northwest of Khartoum, such as Bahri and Omdurman, and fighting here continues. 

Turkish sources said that plane was probably fired at by individual RSF units that may not have been aware of the evacuation plans. 

Small arms fire does not normally damage these types of aircraft unless it comes from close range or hits unprotected areas on the main fuselage, such as the cabin window, the sources said.   

They added that it would not normally prevent the plane from taking off and landing.     

However, images circulating online purportedly showed what appeared to be a bullet hole and leaking fuel.       

The Turkish sources said they would establish whether the attack came from close range after making thorough inspections.

However, they also said that the evacuation would continue and be completed as planned as there is no major damage to the military cargo plane.   

The RSF denied opening fire on the plane and said the Sudanese army was “spreading lies”.  

“Our forces have remained strictly committed to the humanitarian truce that we agreed upon since midnight, and it is not true that we targeted any aircraft in the sky of Wadi Sayedna in Omdurman, which is an area not under the control of our forces and we do not have any forces in its proximity,” it said on Twitter.  

“We have played an active role in ensuring the safe evacuation of the Turkish mission from all the cities of the capital over the past days, and it would be unreasonable to attack a Turkish evacuation plane.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment