15 JUL 2016 SANKATMOCHAN FLIGHT FROM SUDAN

SankatMochan: First flight carrying 156 Indians from South Sudan returns

Gen V K Singh told the media that as many as 550 Indians are in South Sudan. Of them, 156 were flown back to India in the first flight.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: July 15, 2016 6:33 pm

South Sudan, Sankat Mochan, Sudan Indians, South Sudan indians, Indians in sudan, Indians in South SudanMinister of State for External Affairs V K Singh arrives at AFS Palam in New Delhi on early Thursday morning to depart for South Sudan to lead the government’s operation ‘Sankat Mochan’ for evacuating Indians from the violence-hit African country. PTI Photo by Kamal SinghThe first flight carrying Indians evacuated from conflict-torn South Sudan reached India on Friday morning. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who has gone to South Sudan capital Juba, accompanied the evacuated 156 Indians. They were ferried back to the country by Indian Air Force carrier C-17 Globemasters which first landed in Thiruvananthapuram and then flew to Delhi.

Watch Video: Op Sankat Mochan: Video Of Indian Nationals Evacuated From South Sudan Arriving In Delhi

Singh told the media in Thiruvananthapuram that as many as 550 Indians are in South Sudan. Of them, 156 were flown back to India in the first flight. Around 30 to 40 persons have already booked tickets for their return by commercial flights. However, about 300 are not willing to return now, he said.

Norka-Roots, the non-resident Keralites Affairs Department, has made all arrangements for the evacuated persons in the state. Of the first group, 35 belonged to Kerala and 32 to Tamil Nadu and the got down at the first stop. The remaining reached Delhi at around 11 am.  They were received by Union Minister Vijay Goel.

South Sudan, Sankat Mochan, Sudan Indians, South Sudan indians, Indians in sudan, Indians in South SudanMinister of State for External Affairs V K Singh received at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. (Source: Shaju Philip)Strife-torn south Sudan is witnessing heavy fighting between former rebels and government soldiers.  President Salva Kiir has called for a ceasefire after fighting in Juba left more than 150 dead.

READ: We will not be able to evacuate you if situation deteriorates, says Swaraj

The ceasefire announcement came as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on the Security Council to impose an “immediate arms embargo” and targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders blocking implementation of the peace deal.

South Sudan, Sankat Mochan, Sudan Indians, South Sudan indians, Indians in sudan, Indians in South SudanSudan Escapee – Arjun with family. (Source: Shaju Philip)The latest exchanges were apparently sparked by a shootout between President Kiir’s and Vice President Riek Machar’s bodyguards.

 

Indians back home from South Sudan but want to return after peace
South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday evening ordered a ceasefire after days of heavy fighting in the region
IANS | New Delhi
July 15, 2016 Last Updated at 18:12 IST
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Indians evacuated from South Sudan on their arrival at the airport in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Indians evacuated from South Sudan on their arrival at the airport in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
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It was a moment of joy, relief and thanksgiving for the 71 Indian nationals who arrived at Palam technical area here on Friday morning from war-torn South Sudan. But even as they were thankful for their timely evacuation, many of them said they would like to return to the African country once the situation eases there as they had good opportunities to earn money.

The evacuated nationals came in a C17 Globemaster plane of the Indian Air Force which landed here at 10.45 am on Friday morning.
Of the total 156 Indian nationals evacuated from South Sudan, 85 deplaned at Thiruvananthapuram airport while 71 landed at Palam.

Naveen, 34, told IANS that he could not come out of his home in Thongpiny area in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, since Friday when he heard gunfire outside.

“My neighbours residing there also faced the same situation and they are still stuck inside their homes. I heard news that the Indian government wanted to evacuate Indians from Juba. I approached the Indian embassy and have come back.”

Naveen, who has been working as manager in Panorama Plaza (Hotel) in Juba for the last three years, said he wants “to go back after peace returns, as there are better earning opportunities.”

“You have to take risks for something… I was there in 2013 when a similar situation erupted, but it was far better compared to now, that’s why I decided to come back until peace returns there,” Naveen told IANS.

Chandrakant Singh, 56, said he left his home in the Munuki residential area in Juba when he heard heavy gunfire last Friday. “I left my belongings behind because of fear of being shot. I hope the situation improves and I am able to return to my work,” Singh told IANS.

Singh is an employee with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Juba.

“I fled to save my life as the rival forces of President and Vice-President were battling each other using anti-aircraft guns, artillery, attack helicopters and tanks since Thursday,” he said.

Asked why he wanted to go back, Singh smiled and said: “Obviously, money.”

A resident of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, Dinesh Kumar Yadav, 30, said though his home in the Hai Mauna area of Juba was at the centre of the fighting, he had decided to stay back hoping that the situation would return to normal, but his company asked him to return to India due to safety concerns.

“I fear to live there but money matters to me as I am the only earning member of my family of five. My father will not allow me to go back, but I will return when things settle down,” Yadav, who works as operator in a waterplant in Juba, said.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday evening ordered a ceasefire after days of heavy fighting between government troops and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar in Juba.

The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people from their homes.

South Sudan declared independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh led ‘Operation Sankat Mochan’ to evacuate Indians from South Sudan which has been hit by violence.

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