Up to 12 members of the Defence Forces have been deployed to Sudan on an Emergency Civil Assistance Team mission, the Department of Defence has announced.
Intense fighting between the Sudan Army and a rival paramilitary group known as Rapid Support Forces has seen over 400 people killed - including some 200 civilians - in just over a week and thousands more have been injured.
The death toll is expected to surge in the coming days as most of Khartoum’s hospitals have been forced to close and thousands are struggling to access healthcare, food and water.
The UN estimates some 20,000 Sudanese people have fled to neighbouring Chad and many western countries have organised evacuations of their citizens.
“The situation in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has got worse in the last few days, and violence is being reported across the city,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said.
“The Irish Defence Forces personnel and Department of Foreign Affairs officers being deployed will make every effort to provide advice and assistance to the 150 or so Irish nationals in Sudan.
“The situation on the ground in Sudan remains extremely volatile and I wish the ECAT and Defence Forces team every success in this mission.”
Officials were expected to arrive in Djibouti on Sunday and Irish citizens have been told to follow @IrlEmbKenya for the latest advice.
“If the international military go in with heavy lift aircraft to take out international citizens [then] the airport perimeter will be secured by the international military and there’ll probably be a cordon outside operated by the Sudanese military to allow people to get in and then onto the aircraft,” Senator and security analyst Tom Clonan said.
“In that scenario the [Army] Ranger wing would be there in the 12 strong team providing security for our diplomats and consular staff.”
The fighting in Sudan is a clash between two rival generals; Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the head of the Rapid Support Forces Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo were once allies.
The pair worked together to bring down the Government of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 but negotiations to integrate the Rapid Support Forces into the Sudanese military have floundered in recent months.
Recent fighting between the two forces is a clash for dominance.
Main image: An Irish Defence Forces arm patch on a soldier.