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Sudan’s military says 177 Egyptian soldiers evacuated to their homeland

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Cairo: The Sudanese military said on Wednesday that 177 Egyptian soldiers, captured by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), have been evacuated to their homeland.

On Wednesday night, the Al-Qahera News broadcaster reported that the Egyptian soldiers, who were in Sudan for exercises and were captured by the RSF at the Merowe military base, have departed for Egypt. Following media reports, Egyptian army spokesman Gharib Abdel Hafez said that the country’s armed forces were closely monitoring the situation in Sudan and were coordinating with the relevant Sudanese authorities to guarantee the safety of the Egyptian soldiers.

“In coordination between the Sudanese and Egyptian sides, today [on Wednesday] 177 Egyptian air force specialists, who were detained in Merowe during the mutiny of the Rapid Support Forces formations, were evacuated to the Arab Republic of Egypt from Dongola airport [in northern Sudan] aboard four Egyptian military transport aircraft,” the armed forces of Sudan said on social media.

On Saturday, the RSF said that a battalion of Egyptian armed forces had surrendered at the Merowe military airbase. The armed forces of Egypt said they were coordinating with the Sudanese authorities to ensure their safety. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that the Egyptian troops had arrived in Sudan for exercises but not to support any party.

The RSF said on Wednesday that the soldiers, who were at the Merowe military base, were being transferred to Khartoum and would be handed over to Egypt if a “suitable opportunity” arose.

Violent clashes between the Sudanese regular army and the RSF broke out on Saturday, with the epicenter located in Khartoum. Government forces accused the RSF of mutiny and launched airstrikes against their bases. Later that day, Abdel Fattah Burhan, the head of the Sudanese military, issued a decree disbanding the RSF. On Tuesday, the parties agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire beginning at 6 p.m. local time (16:00 GMT).

The Sudanese Health Ministry estimated that around 270 people had been killed and 2,600 others injured in the four days of clashes.

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