By Aaron Pellish, CNN
A second convoy of US citizens organized by the US government arrived in Port Sudan on Sunday as part of an effort to evacuate Americans from the Sudan conflict.
“A second USG-organized convoy arrived in Port Sudan today. We are assisting U.S. citizens and others who are eligible with onward travel to Jeddah, where additional personnel are ready to assist with consular & emergency services,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Sunday in a statement on Twitter.
The US effort — the second convoy in as many days — comes amid mounting anger from Americans in Sudan who felt they were abandoned by the US government and left to navigate the complicated and dangerous situation on their own.
The deadly violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group that broke out earlier month has left hundreds dead, including two Americans, and thousands wounded. The country remains at risk of humanitarian disaster, as those still trapped in their homes face shortages of food, water, medicine and electricity.
Despite a number of nations evacuating their citizens, the US government had maintained for more than a week that the conditions were not conducive to a civilian evacuation. All US government personnel were evacuated in a military operation last weekend.
But Miller said in his statement Sunday that the US has now “facilitated the departure of nearly 1000 US citizens from Sudan” with cooperation from global allies. “Departure options for U.S. citizens have included seats on partner country flights, partner country and international organization convoys, U.S. government organized convoys, and departure via sea as well,” he added.
The US government’s organization and protection of the convoys has involved military surveillance, coordination with other nations on flights and convoys, and continued diplomatic outreach to US citizens in Sudan, Miller said, adding that there are fewer than 5,000 US citizens “who have sought guidance from the government.”
After American and Saudi mediation, the Sudan Armed Forces agreed to extend a humanitarian ceasefire in Sudan for another 72 hours starting midnight Monday morning. Earlier on Sunday, Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces also agreed on extending the truce for 3 days starting at midnight Monday local time.
When the fighting will end in Sudan is unclear. Both sides claim control over key sites, and fighting has been reported in places far from the capital Khartoum.
While various official and non official estimates place the Sudanese Armed Forces at around 210,000 to 220,000 troops, the paramilitary forces are believed to number approximately 70,000 but are better trained and better equipped.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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CNN’s Jennifer Hansler, Nima Elbagir, Tamara Qiblawi and Amarachi Orie contributed to this report.