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Pinoy Abroad

DFA: 156 Filipinos in Sudan want to be repatriated

More than 150 Filipinos in Sudan have sought the Philippine government's help for their repatriation amid the ongoing clashes there between the Sudanese military and a paramilitary group, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

DFA Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega said despite the fact that only around 300 Filipinos are registered living in Sudan, the embassy has already received messages from over 500 people.

He said there could be up to 700 Filipinos in the battle-scarred country, most of them undocumented.

"Ang sabi ng ating embassy, over 500 na ang nag-message sa kanila. Out of the 500 plus, 156 ang handa at any moment na umuwi na. Meron silang passport at visa. Hindi sila illegal sa Sudan, hindi sila mga undocumented," De Vega said in an interview on GMA Integrated News' Unang Balita.

(Our embassy said that over 500 Filipinos have messaged them. Of them, 156 said they are ready to go home at any moment. They have passports and visas. They are not illegal in Sudan, they are not undocumented.)

The start of repatriation of these Filipinos will begin in the next few days, he added.

De Vega said the agency is also renting vehicles to transport more Filipinos out of Sudan.

According to him, there are two routes that could be used —either traveling to Port Sudan where there are ferries going to Saudi Arabia, or going to the border of Egypt where a team would bring the Filipinos to Aswan and from there fly them back to Manila.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. admitted on Saturday the challenges of moving Filipinos out of Sudan as they could not ascertain a secure land route for them to leave. He said none of the airports are functioning, and the road from Khartoum to Cairo where the embassy is long.

De Vega said there are no Filipino casualties in Sudan, and the person who was reportedly injured before is already in better condition now.

The violence in Sudan erupted between the forces of the two generals who seized power in a 2021 coup: the army chief and his deputy, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. —KBK, GMA Integrated News