Employees of two Tbilisi-based airlines trapped in Sudan amid violent clashes

Twenty of the 33 Georgian citizens stranded in Sudan are the employees of Geo Sky Airlines. Photo: Geo Sky 

Agenda.ge, 18 Apr 2023 - 12:28, Tbilisi,Georgia

Thirty-three employees of two Tbilisi-based airlines, Geo Sky and Myway, have been trapped in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum amid violent clashes for power between rival factions that have left at least 185 dead and 1,800 injured in the country since Saturday. 

The Georgian foreign office and the leadership of the airlines on Monday said they were waiting for the formation of a humanitarian corridor to ensure evacuations. 

Shalva Kiknadze, the Director General of Geo Sky Airlines, on Monday told the media 20 of the company’s employees had been trapped in Khartoum. 

He noted the individuals were safe and had been supplied with food and water. 

We are in constant communication with our employees. The Georgian Foreign Ministry has been involved in talks with the United Nations and foreign partners to evacuate the citizens. We are all waiting for a truce between the sides to ensure a safe corridor for evacuations”, he said. 

Kiknadze noted clashes had been observed in the distance of about two kilometres from the current temporary accommodation of the company personnel. 

Rati Bakuradze, the Director General of Myway Airlines, said 13 of his employees remained in Sudan, “a little far” from the epicentre of the clashes. 

According to the latest data, they are safe and have about three days' supply of water and one day's supply of food”, he said on Monday. 

Bakuradze added the company was cooperating with its Sudanese partners to deliver food and water to the personnel as soon as possible. 

We are also warning everyone to stay away from the windows, as there was a small incident on Sunday where a bullet went into the kitchen of their residence, although no casualties have been reported as bedrooms and living areas were on the other side of the building”, Bakuradze said. 

Aleksandre Khvtisiashvili, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, on Monday said the country’s Government was working “intensively” with its partners to evacuate the citizens, and noted his office had been in “close coordination” both with the UN and Georgia’s foreign partners to ensure evacuation of the citizens and their “safe return” to the country.  

The Ministry noted on Tuesday it was in a "daily contact" with the citizens in Sudan, their family members and employing companies.

Additional work is being done to provide food and drinking water to our citizens stranded in the country. We are also closely following the developments in Sudan and are informed about the situation there", said the foreign office. 

The power struggle pits General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the Sudanese commander of the armed forces, against General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group. The former allies jointly organised a military coup in October 2021.