Korean expats in Sudan on April 24 board a Republic of Korea Air Force plane at an airport in Port Sudan in the African country's northeastern region. (Office of the President)
Twenty-eight Korean expats have been evacuated from war-torn Sudan on a Korean military plane.
Lim Jong-deuk, second deputy director of National Security, on April 24 said in a news release that the 28 were moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to board the KC-330 tanker transport plane and flew into Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Province.
Of the 29 Korean expats in Sudan, one chose to remain there.
The group on the morning of April 23 departed from the Sudanese capital of Khartoum and traveled 850 km on land before arriving in the country's northeastern city of Port Sudan on April 24 at 2:40 p.m.
After resting in Jeddah, 26 willing to fly to Korea were expected to arrive at Seoul Air Base on April 25 around 4 p.m. Two who did not want to return immediately were expected to stay in the Saudi city.
Deputy Director Lim said, "The successful implementation of the operation codenamed "Promise" allowed all 28 Korean expats who wanted to leave the danger zone without any harm."
"Throughout the entire process of Operation Promise, President Yoon received real-time briefings on the situation and ordered from the early stage the urgent dispatch of military aircraft, the destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sunshin from the (anti-piracy) Cheonghae Unit and security agents from special forces."
He added, "Also during his flight to the U.S., (the president) was briefed on related matters from the director of national security."
"Director of National Security Cho Taeyong, who was supposed to accompany the president on his state visit to the U.S., remained in Korea under President Yoon's orders to lead the safe evacuation of Korean nationals," the deputy director said.
"Throughout Operation Promise, we received active cooperation from allies such as the U.S., United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In particular, our brother country UAE, where President Yoon paid a state visit to in January, played a big role."
Several Japanese expats in Sudan accompanied the Korean group on the military aircraft.
Since April 15, deadly clashes have continued between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces around downtown Khartoum.
By Margareth Theresia