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Conducted multiple emergency evacuations from Sudan during a coup

On 11 April 2023, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were deployed near the city of Merowe and Khartoum. Government forces ordered them to leave, and they refused. This led to clashes when RSF forces took control of the Soba military base south of Khartoum.

On 12 April, Inherent Risks issued a Flash Alert to its clients' who had people and assets in the region to inform them of a potentially rapid deterioration of the security situation and likely widespread civil unrest and disruption.

On 13 April, Inherent Risks' operations team was activated by an Australian NGO to conduct a rapid evacuation of its staff from a compound on the outskirts of Khartoum, and to relocate assets to a safe location. This task was completed within seven-hours of activation, with a helicopter move from the compound to the aiport, followed by a commercial charter flight out of the country.

On 15 April 2023, in a coup attempt, the RSF attacked Sudanese Armed Forced (SAF) bases across Sudan, including Khartoum and its airport, leading President al-Burhan to relocate his government to Port Sudan.

Bridges and roads in Khartoum were closed, and the RSF claimed that all roads heading south of Khartoum were closed. The Sudan Civil Aviation Authority closed the country's airspace as fighting began.

For multinational corporations and international organisations with people and assets stranded in the country, the situation was made more complex when telecommunications provider MTN shut down Internet services, and there was a near-total Internet outage across Sudan attributed to electricity shortages caused by attacks on the electric grid.

This rendered all travel risk management tracking and alerts apps useless.

"Within 48-hours of the borders and airspace closing, Inherent Risks had received requests to evacuate a total of 267 people from Sudan. This was compounded by some organisations not being able to confirm the exact location of their staff." Explained Dan Kaine, Director of Risk and Crisis Advisory. "This was a mammoth task that turned into a search and rescue operation."

Inherent Risks had two staff members in the country and due to their extensive network in the region, they were able to rapidly recruit other trusted human assets to assist with locating people, identifying safe havens, resupplying food and water, and relocating people.

"We quickly realised that information being published online was not timely or accurate, and in some cases it was a complete fabrication. We had the ability to establish ground truth and obtain real intelligence from on-the-ground, so we made the decision to publish open source intelligence reports online each day, with immediate flash alerts for critical updates." Said Kaine.

These reports became a lifeline for those stranded in the country, as well as peace of mind for their employers and their families. The reports also gained the attention of the UKs Ministry of Defence, foreign governments, and the international media who were using direct quotes from the reports on live TV reports.

The situation on-the-ground, especially in and around Khartoum and Omdurman, was complex. Hundreds of foreign citizens were trapped in buildings with intense fighting surrounding them in every direction. Even moving from one building to another across a street was a potential life or death decison.

"We were in a position where we were the eyes and ears on-the-ground in Sudan for several Governments', including Ukraine, Japan, France, South Africa, United States and the United Kingdom, to assist with evacuation operations. We were conducting very specific tasks where it was imperative that what we were reporting, including photographic and video evidence, was accurate and timely. I was acutely aware that those on-the-ground who I was directing were risking their lives every day." Said Kaine.

Inherent Risks had established a total of seven safe havens on the outskirts of Khartoum and coordinated extractions of people in high-risk areas to these safe havens. This strategy without doubt saved lives as buildings where people had been moved from were later reported as destroyed by air strikes, and/or looted by RSF troops. This also made it easier to resupply food, water and medications; and also served as a forward mounting point for evacuation operations.

"Over several weeks, Inherent Risks supported over 560 people stranded in multiple locations across Sudan. We were able to provide essential support for successfully evacuating 138 Ukrainian civilans by road to Egypt, 81 citizens from five-countries out of Khartoum to Port Sudan, and 11 South African citizens across the border into South Sudan. In addition, we directly transported over 200-people through conflict zones to Wad Madani for military evacuations." Explained Kaine.

Inherent Risks received letters of appreciation from Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japan's Self-Defence Forces, as well as electronic mail messages to express gratitude for assistance from the South African Army, US Department of State and UKs Ministry of Defence. In addition, emails and in-person messages from several multinational corporations and international NGOs, and private families.


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