China sending navy to evacuate citizens in Sudan
China has deployed its navy to rescue citizens from conflict-hit Sudan, the defense ministry in Beijing said on Thursday.
Multiple nations have scrambled to evacuate embassy staff and citizens by road, air and sea from Sudan, where fighting between the army and paramilitaries has killed hundreds and led to acute shortages of water, food, medicines and fuel.
Rescue operations intensified in recent days as a 72-hour ceasefire took effect on Tuesday.
"Recently, the security situation in Sudan has continued to deteriorate," Chinese defense ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said.
The navy was deployed on Wednesday, he added, "in order to protect the lives and property of Chinese people in Sudan."
On Monday, China said it had safely evacuated a first group of citizens, estimating about 1,500 of its nationals were in Sudan.
Some 800 Chinese citizens would be evacuated from Sudan by sea from April 25 to 27, foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Wednesday.
More than 300 other people have crossed over to countries bordering Sudan by land, she added.
The fighting has killed at least 512 people and wounded more than 4,000, according to Sudan's health ministry, and reduced some districts of greater Khartoum to ruins.