OTTAWA, Canada (AP) — Canada suspended its consular services in Sudan on Sunday, saying a rapidly deteriorating situation has made it impossible to safeguard the safety and security of its staff in the capital city of Khartoum.
Hundreds have been killed and thousands injured in just 10 days after power-sharing negotiations between the country’s armed forces and its paramilitary troops rapidly deteriorated.
“The situation in Sudan has rapidly deteriorated making it impossible to safeguard the safety and security of our staff,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement. “After consulting with Canada’s Ambassador to Sudan, the decision has been made to temporarily suspend our operations in Sudan.
Canadian diplomats will temporarily work from a safe location outside of the country, the statement said, adding that they will continue working with others to coordinate the response to Sudan’s crisis.
Canada’s decision came as U.S. special operations forces carried out a precarious evacuation of the American embassy in Sudan on Sunday, sweeping in and out of the capital with helicopters on the ground for less than an hour. No shots were fired and no major casualties were reported.
With the last U.S. employee of the embassy out, Washington shuttered the U.S. mission in Khartoum indefinitely. Left behind were thousands of private American citizens remaining in the east African country.
The New York Times reports that U.S. special forces evacuated six Canadian diplomats, while the BBC says Canadians are among a group evacuated by sea to Saudi Arabia. Global Affairs did not immediately confirm those reports.
As of Saturday, 1,596 Canadian citizens were formally registered as being in Sudan, though experts say the figure is likely much higher.