The Defense Department remains actively engaged with the State Department in monitoring the security situation in Sudan, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder during a news conference at the Pentagon today.
Ryder underscored the close work between the two agencies in planning and preparing for the evacuation of U.S. citizens who decide to depart the country in the most safe and secure way possible.
“We’re working very closely with the State Department to identify the number of Americans who want to leave Sudan as of right now,” he said. “The indications that we have is that those numbers are relatively small, however we do recognize that could change quickly.”
Approximately 100 U.S. special operations forces aided in the evacuation of about 70 members of the U.S staff from the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum on Saturday in response to escalating violence in the city.
U.S. Africa Command has established a deconfliction cell at its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, as a means of ensuring communication between US allies and partners in the region.
Part of the deconfliction cells mission is to work with the State Department to identify available seats on international flights departing the country, Ryder said.
Ryder said the Defense Department is also providing support in the development of overland routes for civilian evacuations, in the event the security situation deteriorates further.
“It allows us to establish a sustainable, repeatable process by which to get people out overground in larger numbers, to port Sudan, for example, where they could be received and then moved onward via sea,” he said. “That’s something that will continue to work.”
U.S. forces have maintained constant overwatch of the security situation in the region through unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights. U.S. Naval assets also remain off the coast of Sudan to assist as needed.
“The bottom line is we’re ready to support now,” Ryder said. “We’ll continue to work very closely with the State Department, we’ll continue to stay in close contact with our allies and partners to ensure that if an American citizen is looking to get out, we will work with State to ensure and enable that.”