France has begun a “rapid evacuation operation” of citizens and diplomatic personnel from Sudan, the country’s foreign ministry announced in a statement on Sunday.
This would include citizens of “European and allied partner” nations, the ministry said.
It comes amid evacuations of US government personnel and Iraqi diplomats from embassies in the capital Khartoum, as well as the first evacuations of civilians from countries like Qatar, Egypt, Canada, India, Burkina Faso and the United Arab Emirates by Saudi officials.
Fighting between two rival military factions in the country – the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – continues despite a 72-hour truce declared for the Muslim holiday of Eid.
Loud explosions and clashes were reported early Sunday morning, particularly around the military headquarters and presidential palace in Khartoum.
Eyewitnesses told CNN that they could hear aerial attacks and heavy weapons being used in Khartoum as well as rocket launchers.
On Saturday night, the Sudanese Armed Forces spokesperson said that the RSF had released inmates from two prisons – El Hoda in northwest Omdurman and one in Soba.
Among El Hoda’s inmates are members of the security services, some of whom have been sentenced to death. There are also members of the RSF in the two prisons.
The RSF denied having released any prisoners.
In Bahri, a city north of Khartoum, hundreds of civilians protested late on Saturday against the fighting and violence – eyewitnesses told CNN journalists that they were using their lights from their phones while walking. The protest passed without violence or arrests.
On Sunday, protesters plan to display white flags in their homes.
CNN journalists said there is limited internet access to internet providers in Sudan.
This is a developing story. More to come