Turkish Evacuation Plane Shot At in Sudan
Sudan’s army claimed that the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) shot at a Turkish evacuation plane as it was landing at Wadi Seyidna airport outside Khartoum on Friday, damaging its fuel system.
Images shared by the Sudanese Armed Forces on social media showed what they said is the damaged aircraft parked on the tarmac.
Hundreds have died and tens of thousands of people have fled in two weeks of conflict between Sudan’s army and the RSF.
The two factions agreed late on Thursday to prolong a ceasefire by 72 hours to allow for humanitarian access, but fighting flared in parts of the capital Khartoum on Friday, according to eyewitnesses and live video broadcasts.
The RSF denied firing at the plane and said the army was “spreading lies.”
“Our forces have remained strictly committed to the humanitarian truce that we agreed upon since midnight, and it is not true that we targeted any aircraft in the sky of Wadi Seyidna in Omdurman,” the RSF said in a statement.
Reuters was able to confirm the make of the plane in the pictures as a C-130 transport used by the Turkish Air Force through the number and logo on the tail of the plane as well as the propellers, which matched file imagery.
Turkey’s defense ministry confirmed that a Turkish evacuation plane had been fired at as it was landing at Wadi Seyidna airport outside Khartoum on Friday.
It was not possible to confirm the location or the date the photos were taken.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday that the damage to the military evacuation plane dispatched to Sudan for Turkish citizens was being inspected by the teams on the ground and was expected to be repaired soon.
“We do not have any injuries or personnel casualties. There is minor damage to the plane and our team is investigating it at the moment,” Akar added.
Akar also said that five military aircraft had been dispatched to the country to evacuate all remaining citizens.
Before the alleged shooting incident, the Turkish military was in the process of evacuating hundreds of citizens from Sudan on Friday, as the two sides there agreed to extend a truce by 72 hours.
A video released by the Turkish defense ministry showed citizens onboard a plane leaving Port Sudan and landing later on in Istanbul.
The Sudanese army said the plane was being repaired.
Reuters contributed to this report.