Egyptians in Sudan experienced very tough conditions, after war erupted in the neighbouring country.
As the war unfolded in Sudan, terror made its masterpiece and spread fear around the place.
Those fleeing the violence in Sudan, tell of helicopters and warplanes roaring in the sky all the time, of tanks filling the streets and brutal shelling deafening to locals who have to adapt to these things with every passing day.
Those fighting shoot at everything, never distinguishing civilian from military targets.
Egypt was the earliest country to evacuate its nationals from Sudan and also help the nationals of other countries leave the war-torn country.
In doing this, Egypt delivered a message to everybody that it can protect its citizens, wherever they are: in Libya, Yemen, China, Ukraine, Afghanistan or Sudan.
“Our brothers in Sudan helped us escape … Our country’s army carried us to safety”
“We had never thought that we would return with only the clothes that cover their skin.” This was what the mother of secondary school third-grader in Sudan, Nour Mohamed Samir, painfully told al-Bawaba News.
The war had just shattered the dreams of her simple Egyptian family that lives in a village in Qwesna, a centre of the Egyptian Nile Delta province of Menoufiya.
She had initially that her and her family’s stay in Sudan would extend for many years.
Her husband had worked as an accountant for a company in Sudan for the past 12 years. The family had to enrol the eldest son in secondary school in Sudan.
Nevertheless, the war came to put an end to all this. It put an end to her husband’s work and her son’s study. It also interrupted plans for her youngest daughter who would have attended secondary school in the war-torn country, like her brother.
Nour, the top student of his Sudanese school, recounted the horrors he had encountered since the war began.
He and his family members were picked up by a warplane that took off from an airbase in Wadi Sedna in Sudan and then landed at a military airport in eastern Cairo.
Nour spent two years only in Sudan. Their house was located near Khartoum International Airport.
His parents convinced him to travel to Sudan with them and complete his secondary school education there. His school in Sudan was called ‘Alamiya’ (Arabic for international).
Nour was an avid learner. He was the top of his class. This encouraged him to plan to complete his education in Sudan, hoping to get the highest grades and then return to Egypt to enrol in university.
“Things were going on as usual in Khartoum before April 15,” Nour said.
“However, the world turned upside down all of a sudden,” he added.
The quiet of Khartoum suddenly gave in to chaos, violence, and bloodshed. This horror assumed the loudest pitch on day and at night. Death reared its fearful head everywhere the residents of the Sudanese capital escaped to.
Nour and his father lived in complete darkness, with electricity services breaking down in the Sudanese capital, for seven whole days.
Water scarcity, he said, assumed unimaginable proportions, while internet and communication services became non-existent.
“We could only hear the sounds of guns and machine guns and smell death,” Nour said. “Explosions and fires occurred every hour.”
Nour and his father were trapped inside their home. Going out, he said, meant certain death for everybody.
“Egyptian army saved my son from the Sudanese inferno”
Father of Khartoum Medical College second-grader, Mustafa Shazly Mohamed, recounted some of the scenes connected with his son’s return from Sudan.
He said his son lived on Road 60 in Khartoum. Immediately after the outbreak of the war, he said, the son relocated to another area in the Sudanese capital, with help from his Sudanese colleagues.
“Nevertheless, danger was wherever my son travelled inside the Sudanese capital,” the father said.
He said his son kept moving from one place to another under shelling and the sound of guns.
Shazly hails from the central Egyptian province of Fayoum. He had to contact the Egyptian Foreign Ministry on April 22 to ask it for help in getting his son, Mustafa, out of the Sudanese capital and back into Egypt.
“This was one of the attempts I made to rescue my son from the claws of death,” Shazly told al-Bawaba News.
“I thought this attempt would go in vain like all previous ones did,” he added.
Expectedly, the Foreign Ministry reacted quickly towards Shazly’s son, like it did towards thousands of other Egyptians living in Sudan.
Shazly said Foreign Ministry officials replied to her very warmly and then sent messages of reassurance to him about his son.
The ministry, he said, contacted the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum, which contacted his son.
The embassy officials asked Shazly’s son to stay at home together with six other Egyptian nationals and pledged to get them out of Sudan as soon as possible.
A short time later, the embassy contacted the same students and asked them to head to a location where its buses were waiting to take them to the Wadi Sedna, 40 kilometres away, to board a military plane and travel to Cairo.
Shazly said his son and other people flown by Egypt to the military airport in eastern Cairo spent three days at the airport.
He added that Egyptian authorities treated them to drinks and food during these days.
“I only wanted my son to return home,” Shazly said. “His return showed me that our country is a great one.”
“Some Sudanese risked their own lives to protect us.”
Mohamed al-Sayed, who hails from the southern Egyptian province of Souhag and a student of the Medical College at Manhal University Academy of Sciences in Khartoum, did not think the war that broke out in Sudan on April 15 would drag on for long.
“I thought it would be a short one and that things would go back to normal,” al-Sayed told al-Bawaba News.
However, he said, the situation went from bad to worse and most of Khartoum was destroyed, including the East Nile area where he lived.
Al-Sayed noted that the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) besieged his home and prevented people from getting out.
“The pace of the war intensified and the RSF escalated fighting against the Sudanese army,” al-Sayed said.
He added that he and other people were trapped at home and could not even look out the window.