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Huthi rebels block Sudanese evacuation plane from landing in Sana’a

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April 5, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – A spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said Huthi rebels had prevented a plane from landing in Sana’a airport to evacuate Sudanese nationals.

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Houthi fighters sit on a tank near the presidential palace in Sanaa on 25 March 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

In a press conference in Riyadh Sunday, Ahmed Asiri said that Huthi militia controlling Sanaa airport prevented the plane from evacuating Sudanese citizens, accusing them of targeting populated areas and residential buildings in Aden.

However, the Secretary General of the Sudanese Expatriates Bureau Haj Magid Siwar told Ashorooq TV on Sunday that the plane is a Yemeni plane which was supposed to evacuate Sudanese nationals from Sanaa airport.

He added that Yemen’s foreign ministry has stopped Yemeni flights completely.

Siwar revealed that several airlines refused to evacuate Sudanese citizens from Yemen because airports became military targets for the coalition air-strikes.

The Sudanese official expected that Sudanese nationals will be evacuated by land within two days particularly as air travel requires careful coordination.

Last week, Siwar said the number of Sudanese in Yemen ranges between 4,000 to 4,500 and that a preliminary count of those wishing to return showed that around 2,000 wish to go home.

Sudanese government is a member of the Saudi-led military coalition codenamed “Operation Firmness Storm” against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Sudan has been chosen by the coalition and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to be the principal station for evacuating nationals from various nations as a prelude to transfer them to their countries.

A senior diplomatic source said in press statements in Khartoum Sunday that evacuees from Yemen will be received at Khartoum and Port Sudan airports. besides Port Sudan seaport.

He added that Khartoum has obtained the necessary permissions and completed all procedures for receiving planes, ships and vessels carrying evacuees, pointing that evacuation operations will be carried out in the vicinities of Yemen’s airports.

Several foreign governments have stepped up evacuation operations to get their citizens and other expatriates out of Yemen.

According to Al Jazeera TV, India has successfully evacuated at least 1,800 of its nationals.

Also Algeria evacuated 160 of its citizens, the country’s state news agency APS reported, adding that 40 Tunisians, 15 Mauritians, 8 Libyans, 3 Moroccans, and a Palestinian were also rescued by their forces.

France released footage of the evacuation of 44 foreigners from Yemen, including several French citizens.

(ST)

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