The US embassy in Sudan issued a security alert on Saturday, warning US citizens to «shelter in place until further notice», hours after the country’s military said it had agreed to grant evacuation requests made. by the United States, Great Britain, France and China.

“It is currently unsafe to conduct a US government-coordinated evacuation of private US citizens,” the alert read, as fighting continued between the Sudanese military and its partner-turned-rival, the Support Forces paramilitary group. Fast in the capital, Khartoum, and others. parts of the West African nation.

The alert said there was «incomplete information» about convoys traveling from Khartoum, the capital of the West African country, to the coastal city of Port Sudan. “The embassy cannot help the convoys. Traveling in any convoy is at your own risk,” he added.

At least one American has been killed in Sudan since fighting began, the State Department confirmed Friday. The name, gender, hometown and other details of the American victim were not immediately released.

The alert came hours after the Sudanese Armed Forces said in a Facebook post that “the United States, Britain, France and China will evacuate their diplomats and citizens by air using military transport planes belonging to their armed forces from Khartoum. ”.

He said General Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sudanese army, had agreed to grant evacuation requests, though he did not say how the departures would be arranged.

A Sudanese army soldier sits on top of a tank in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan on April 20, 2023.AFP via Getty Images

Khartoum International Airport is currently closed due to the fighting.

An estimated 16,000 Americans are on the ground in Sudan, many of them dual nationals. About 500 of those US citizens had been in contact with the US Embassy as of Wednesday, and 55 had requested an evacuation, with the number expected to rise.

A US diplomatic convoy was attacked in an apparent attack by fighters linked to one of the warring sides, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday, calling the incident «reckless» and «irresponsible».

The Biden administration is leaning toward evacuating US government personnel from Sudan, a military officer and two congressional staffers, NBC News said on Friday.

It was not clear when an evacuation might take place, but the Pentagon announced Thursday that the United States would deploy additional troops to the region should they be needed for an evacuation.

Elsewhere, Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement it was «doing everything possible» to support its citizens and diplomatic staff in the country, but made no mention of any evacuation attempts. French officials have yet to comment.

The Sudanese military’s announcement came after days of intense pressure from the international community for a ceasefire and help facilitate evacuations from the country.

The Sudanese army said in a statement on Friday that it had agreed to a three-day ceasefire «to allow citizens to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and allow humanitarian services to run smoothly.»

But the fighting continued through the night and on Saturday morning and explosions could be heard in Khartoum. Two ceasefire attempts earlier this week also quickly collapsed.

Shelling, shooting and sniper fire in densely populated areas have affected civilian infrastructure, including many hospitals.

The clashes have killed more than 400 people so far, the World Health Organization said in a statement on Friday, though it stressed that the death toll is likely to be higher.

The fighting broke out after months of tensions between the army and the Róbalo Rapid Support Forces after months of heightened tensions between the two forces that had delayed a deal with political parties to return the country to its brief transition to democracy, which was derailed by a military coup in October 2021.

Both sides disagree on how the Rapid Support Forces should be integrated into the military, a key condition of the framework agreement. The army wants the transition to happen in two years, while the Rapid Support Forces said it could take 10 years.

Burhan and his current rival and Rapid Support Forces leader, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, a former camel dealer widely known as Hemedti, led a counterinsurgency against an uprising in Sudan’s Darfur region, a conflict that in 2005 saw the The country’s dictator, Omar al-Bashir, became the world’s first sitting leader to be indicted by the International Criminal Court on suspicion of genocide.

They were part of the military establishment that helped oust al-Bashir in 2019 after widespread popular unrest, raising hopes for democracy after his 30 years in power.

The two generals then teamed up to overthrow the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock in 2021.

But the conflict erupted earlier this month over a disagreement over how to integrate the Rapid Support Forces, Hemedti’s faction, into the national army, a key condition of a framework agreement to return Sudan to democratic civilian rule.

victoria di gioacchino and nancy contributed.