Turkish evacuation plane shot at while landing outside Khartoum

An image purportedly showing a bullet hole in the Turkish evacuation plane hit in Sudan on Friday (Photo: Supplied/social media)

On Friday, a Turkish evacuation aircraft was targeted by gunfire in Sudan, with the Sudanese army blaming the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) it is fighting.

As part of efforts to evacuate Turkish citizens from the war-torn nation, the aircraft landed at the Wadi Seyidna airport north of Khartoum.

The Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that light weapons were launched at its C-130 evacuation aircraft.

The Sudanese army previously reported that one crew member was injured and petroleum supplies were damaged. However, the Turkish defense ministry subsequently stated that nobody was injured.

"Our plane successfully landed. Although there are no injuries to our personnel, our aircraft is also undergoing the necessary checks," it stated.

Turkish sources familiar with the evacuation told Middle East Eye that before commencing the air evacuation operation, Ankara informed both the army and the RSF.

Since violence erupted on 15 April between the Sudanese army and RSF over plans to integrate the paramilitary force into the regular military as part of a transitional political agreement, more than 400 people have been slain.

The parties to the conflict have agreed to maintain a ceasefire for the past three days, although intermittent combat has continued.

After RSF forces seized areas northwest of Khartoum, including Bahri and Omdurman, there were clashes around Wadi Seyidna airport on Thursday evening, and the combat continues here.

According to Turkish sources, the plane was likely targeted by RSF units unaware of the evacuation arrangements.

Small arms fire typically does not cause damage to these aircraft unless it is fired from close range or strikes unprotected areas of the main fuselage, such as the cabin window, according to the sources.

They added that it typically would not prevent the aircraft from taking off or landing.

However, online images purportedly depicted what appeared to be a bullet wound and leaking fuel.

The Turkish sources stated that comprehensive inspections would determine whether the attack originated from close range.

However, they also stated that the evacuation would proceed and be completed as planned because the military cargo plane sustained no major damage.

The RSF denied opening fire on the aircraft and accused the Sudanese military of "spreading lies."

"Since midnight, our forces have remained strictly committed to the humanitarian truce we agreed to, and it is not true that we targeted any aircraft over Wadi Sayedna in Omdurman, which is not under the control of our forces, nor do we have forces in its vicinity," the group said on Twitter.

"We have played an active role in ensuring the safe evacuation of the Turkish mission from all of the capital's cities over the past few days, and it would be unreasonable to attack a Turkish evacuation plane."

Publish : 2023-04-28 17:24:00

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