Nigerian students trapped in Sudan have shared their experiences in chaos-torn Sudan where two warring military factions have been engaged in a war of late.
The students, Lukman Abdulhayatu, Bilyaminu Muhammad and Bashiru Achida, spoke with Channels Television virtually on Tuesday.
Ten days of heavy fighting until Monday has killed hundreds of people, left bodies rotting in the streets, and some neighbourhoods of greater Khartoum in ruins.
The latest conflict is between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against those of his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the heavily armed paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The RSF emerged from the Janjaweed militia that then-president Omar al-Bashir unleashed in the Darfur region two decades ago, leading to war crimes charges against Bashir and others.
One of the students, Abdulhayatu said he “woke up on Saturday morning with heavy bombings and fire everywhere”.
“It is catastrophic. I don’t know how to describe it. It is something that we have not seen before; we only saw it in the movies.”
“We are at a location far away, where there is less violence,” he said, adding that some other students are leaving their hostels and apartments for safe locations.
Narrating his experience, Muhammad said, “Early morning on the 15th of this month, we woke up to this terrible war. I have never heard the sound of a gun in my life, only in Sudan. This is my first experience. I had only seen it in the movies.
“I have been in my room for three days because you are not sure what will happen if you go out there. Many people break their legs while trying to escape to nearby villages.”
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama had said that Nigerians stranded in Sudan will be evacuated by road as airports are being bombed. He had also said the evacuation would be commenced by Tuesday.
“We have been given the cost estimate and all the details. They gave us a figure of 5,500 who are ready for evacuation,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
“Obviously, what you need in a situation like this is a place where everybody can congregate before you start moving them out. Because the airports, as you pointed out in your report, it is out of commission. The only viable way out is by road.”