Sudan’s rich delayed at border town on way to Egypt


To escape the civil war, many rich Sudanese have fled the capital Khartoum and are undertaking the long and hazardous journey to Egypt’s border, roughly 720 kilometers (450 miles) to the north.

Women, children, and the elderly are allowed to enter Egypt without a visa from Sudan, but men between the ages of 16 and 50 must apply for a visa and typically wait days in difficult conditions at the busy border.

Because of the rule, businessmen, doctors, and other well-to-do Sudanese have flocked to Wadi Halfa, 25 kilometers south of the border and home to an Egyptian consulate, causing a bottleneck.

We uprooted ourselves from our cozy house and went on. “Look at us now,” Hassan, 40, said during a visit with her son. They arrived from the upscale Kafouri area, which is situated across the Blue Nile from Khartoum’s city.

But how can I abandon an 18-year-old who has never traveled alone before if he lacks the necessary visa?

Sudan’s Aswan consul, Abdel Qadir Abdullah, reported on Sunday that the number of passports awaiting visas in Wadi Halfa had climbed to 6,000 as of five days ago, and that the Egyptian foreign ministry had sent extra employees to assist in clearing the backlog.

Authorities have been working to allow the evacuation of all nationalities from Sudan since the beginning of the conflict, the ministry said last week in answer to questions about border crossings and the care given to those who cross the border.

Violence and Looting

Sudan is on the brink of a long civil war and a major humanitarian catastrophe as a consequence of fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15.

It has sparked unrest throughout the nation of 46 million people, particularly in Darfur’s western area, where tensions have been high since 2003 and have yet to be resolved.

When the Sudanese government and its allies battled in the past, they avoided Khartoum and its sister cities of Bahri and Omdurman.

For the previous three weeks, millions of people have been without power or running water and have been unable to replace their food supplies while sheltering from air attacks, artillery battles, marauding fighters, and lawlessness.

Because Khartoum’s airport has been closed, tens of thousands of people have fled to the highways in search of safety in the countryside or neighboring countries.

According to government figures, at least 64,000 people have entered Egypt, which already has an estimated 4 million Sudanese residents and with whom many families have relations.

They have crammed into buses and trucks, paying up to $500 each to be carried to Egyptian checkpoints at Arqeen, west of Lake Nubia, and Qustul, north of Wadi Halfa.

According to union officials, the previously tranquil, low-rise community has become a large holding facility for adult male visa applicants and their families who do not want to be separated.


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