A Sudanese woman married to an Indian man has made a desperate appeal to be evacuated after being left stranded – along with her 21-month-old son – by fighting in the country.
“Please help me and my son,” says Baraah Abaker, 23, as countries including India scramble to evacuate their citizens.
Fighting began earlier this month between forces loyal to Sudanese army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti.
Abaker was in her final year at Bahri University when her husband Abdul Haseeb left for India in October last year for work. He left her son with an Indian passport with her.
Abaker, a veterinary doctor in her final year, was to take her exams before returning to her husband in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
“I was in the process of getting my visa for India and I contacted a person from the Indian Embassy before the conflict broke out,” he says. the independent. But when I called him again [a few days back]He told me that he had gone to India.
A resident of the capital Khartoum, Abaker left for Nyala, hundreds of kilometers away, in early March to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan with his two sisters and mother.
“We didn’t know we’d be stuck here,” she says. “I never really thought my country would become hell for us and a land of war and conflict.”
She says her mother’s house, located near the local army headquarters, has also been destroyed, its walls “pierced by bullets”.
“We can’t even move around the house, let alone go back to Khartoum,” says Abaker. “My son can’t stand the sounds of gunshots. We huddle under beds to save our lives.”
“I just took my son in my arms and hid,” he said of the start of the fight.
Local hospitals are closed, with no medical personnel in the neighborhood to care for the injured. Food stores and markets have been hit by artillery shelling and civilians have taken over what was left.
Running out of food, Abaker says there is barely enough for a day or two. Her problem has been compounded by shortages of water, electricity and network problems that prevent her from contacting her husband in India.
The Indian government announced on Monday the launch of “Operation Kaveri” to bring back its citizens from Sudan. India has sent a warship and two air force planes to the country.
“About 500 Indians have arrived in Port Sudan. More on the way,” Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
But Abaker and her son have yet to find help, though her husband in India has pleaded with the authorities for help with the paperwork.
“I am worried and terrified here,” says Haseeb. “No one from the Indian embassy is answering the call and no one has taken responsibility for evacuating my family.”
“I tried calling the Foreign Ministry and the embassy, but no one has taken any serious action,” he says.
As international flights carrying evacuees take off from Sudan, Abaker says they are the “lucky ones” “who are evacuees and have made it safely to their home country with their families.”
“I hope we can have the same fate,” she says.