18:44 15 Apr 2023

Ukraine's foreign ministry refutes reports of Ukrainian hostage capture in Sudan

Photo: video screenshot

A post by a Ukrainian stewardess about capturing Ukrainian hostages in the Sudanese capital Khartoum during clashes was shared on social media. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine denied this information.

Oleh Nikolenko, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, said this in a comment to Hromadske.

"Information about the capture of Ukrainian hostages is not confirmed. During the escalation of the situation at Khartoum International Airport, there were members of the Ukrainian aircrew. This group of people was managed to be taken out," the representative of the Ukrainian foreign ministry emphasized.

Nikolenko noted that the members of the Ukrainian crew are now in a safe place. They are being looked after by the Ukrainian Honorary Consul in Sudan.

The department spokesperson emphasized that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Ukraine in Egypt keep the security of Ukrainian citizens in Sudan "under special control."

It should be noted that before this, the stewardess of the Ukrainian airline SkyUp Alina Posokhova shared a story on Instagram with the inscription: "Sudan. Attempted coup. Shelling at the airport. Hostages. Our crews and boards. We are praying."

But later, the woman deleted this story and published a new one: "Don't twist words and don't make up facts!"

At least two planes are known to have been damaged at Khartoum airport during clashes between the armed forces and the Rapid Support Force of Sudan (RSF). One of the planes belongs to the Ukrainian airline SkyUp.

SkyUp said it was impossible to determine the aircraft's condition and potential damage at this time. Still, the 36 employees in the country were in a relatively safe place and were being contacted.

Events in Sudan

In Sudan's capital Khartoum, after several days of tension between the armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of Sudan (RSF), clashes broke out, with media claiming an attempted coup d'état.

The RSF said it had taken control of the presidential palace, the army chief's residence, and Khartoum International Airport. The armed forces deny this and say they "destroyed" the Tibah and Soba RSF camps with aircraft.

Tensions arose over disagreements over how the RSF should be integrated into the army. The RSF emerged from the Janjaweed militia, known for the conflict in Darfur that began in 2003.

Human Rights Watch noted that serious violations, including torture, extrajudicial killings, and mass rape, accompanied RSF's actions during two counterinsurgency campaigns in Sudan.

In 2019, the RSF and the Sudanese army jointly participated in a military coup in the country. As a result, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan for 30 years, was removed from power. Instead, a transitional government was created in Sudan.

Military and civilian officials approved a power-sharing agreement between the military and the Sovereign Council. It was to rule the country for another year before holding elections and the final transition to civilian rule.

However, a tense situation remained between Sudan's military and civilian groups. And in 2021, another coup d'état took place. According to his results, the country began to be governed by a transitional sovereign council, which includes the leader of the RSF, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

In December 2022, the Sudanese army and the RSF signed an UN-backed Framework Agreement, pledging to hand over power to a civilian government eventually. But the issue of integrating the RSF into the army caused tension between the parties.

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