IAF rescues 121 people from a small airstrip at Wadi Seidna in Sudan

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KHARTOUM: The Indian Air Force (IAF), in a daring operation carried out by the C-130J aircraft on the night of April 27-28, 2023, rescued 121 people from a small airstrip at Wadi Seidna, which is about 40 km north of Khartoum, Sudan.

The passengers included medical cases, including a pregnant woman, besides those who had no means to reach Port Sudan, the IAF said in a statement. The convoy was led by the Indian Defence Attache, who was in continuous touch with IAF authorities all along, till they reached the airstrip at Wadi Seidna.

The airstrip in question had a degraded surface, with no navigational approach, aids or fuel, and most critical, landing lights that are required to guide an aircraft landing at night.

The aircrew, on approaching the airstrip, used their Electro-Optical/Infra Red sensors to ensure that the runway was free from any obstructions and no inimical forces were in the vicinity. Having made sure of the same, the aircrew carried out a tactical approach on Night Vision Goggles, on a practically dark night.

Upon landing, the aircraft engines were kept running while eight IAF Garud commandos secured the passengers and their luggage into the aircraft. As with the landing, the takeoff from the unlit runway was also carried out using NVGs. This approximately two-and-a-half-hour operation between Wadi Sayyidna and Jeddah will go down in the annals of IAF history for its sheer audacity and flawless execution, akin to that carried out in Kabul.

Meanwhile, under ‘Operation Kaveri’ on Friday, another Indian Air Force C-130J flight took off from conflict-torn Sudan with 135 passengers onboard for Jeddah. “Another IAF C-130J flight takes off from Port Sudan with 135 passengers on board. This is the 11th batch of stranded Indians heading to Jeddah”, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

Earlier on Friday morning, an IAF C-130J flight evacuated the 10th batch of 135 Indian passengers from Port Sudan to Jeddah after the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to extend their ceasefire amid ongoing violence in the capital Khartoum and the western Darfur region.

“#OperationKaveri progresses further. 10th batch of evacuees with 135 passengers onboard IAF C-130J flight departs Port Sudan for Jeddah,” tweeted the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. This comes after the army said it will extend the ceasefire “for an additional 72 hours” following mediation efforts by Saudi Arabia and the United States in the final hours of the repeatedly broken three-day truce.

The RSF also said it approved the extended truce, adding that the proposal came from two diplomatic groupings that include the US, Saudi Arabia, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

Sudan is experiencing bloodshed as a result of clashes between the army and paramilitary forces. Even though there is a 72-hour ceasefire, there have been allegations of violence. Fighting has erupted between soldiers loyal to Sudanese army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, paramilitary Rapid Support Soldiers (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Committed to ensuring that no Indian national is left behind in Sudan, India has deployed its military planes and warships in the war-torn country. (ANI)

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