Sudanese flee to Egypt as fighting escalates
As tens of thousands of Sudanese people stream north over the border into Egypt fleeing violence, stories of days-long delays at the border are emerging, with travellers suffering in the heat without food, water, or shelter.
Sudan erupted into violence two weeks ago as the army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), spearheaded by General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, attacked each other with helpless civilians caught in the crossfire.
Fighter jets thundered overhead as foreign governments and international organisations evacuated their citizens and foreign staff and Sudanese people began moving to the borders to escape.
Late on Friday, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tweeted that an estimated 50,000 people had fled Sudan to Egypt, Chad, South Sudan and the Central African Republic – and the numbers were expected to grow.
There are two border crossings into Egypt, Argeen and Qustul-Ashkit in Wadi Halfa, and they are on the west and east banks of Nubia Lake, respectively.
All males between the ages of 17 and 49 have been told to go to Halfa to apply for an Egyptian visa at the consulate there.
Women and males younger than 17 and older than 49 can cross at Argeen without visas, meaning many families are separated and have to wait in Argeen for their male relatives to get through.
“We faced a lot of problems because my son was over the age and needed a visa, which took maybe a whole day,” Mostafa, who asked to be identified by only first name, told Al Jazeera shortly after he arrived in the southern Egyptian city of Aswan with his wife and four children.
But once that hurdle was cleared, Mostafa and his family did not foresee any issues in Egypt as they could afford to move around there.
The processing on the Egyptian side is slow, with some people waiting for days to hear their names called so they can proceed into the country.
An Egyptian journalist, who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, said such slowdowns are an indication that extra caution is being taken to check everyone coming through.—Al Jazeera