An Indian national died in Khartoum after being hit by a stray bullet in the violence-hit Sudanese capital city.
The Indian Embassy in Khartoum said the deceased, Albert Augestine, was working in a Dal Group Company in Sudan.
"It has been reported that Mr Albert Augestine, an Indian National working in a Dal Group Company in Sudan who got hit by a stray bullet yesterday succumbed to his injuries," it tweeted. The Embassy said it is in touch with his family.
Reacting to the news, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar expressed grief over Augestine’s death and said: “The situation in Khartoum remains one of great concern. We will continue to monitor developments.”
48-year Albert Augustine, a native of Kannur and an ex-serviceman and a native of Nellipara, Alakode was killed in the firing on the night of April 15.
Speaking to The Hindu, his father Augustine Alavelil, said his son was killed in the incident that took place at 9.45 p.m. He went to Sudan seven months back after receiving sponsorship from the Dal Group of Companies. His wife Sybella and daughter Mareetta, had joined him when they went on a vacation on April 3. They were with him in the flat, when the incident occurred.
Mr. Alavelil said that the bullet hit him when he was speaking over the phone to his son, who is studying in Canada. He was standing near the window of his flat on the third floor. The fighters might have noticed him, he suspected.
“We were able to receive the information from another person, who is a native of Malappuram, staying in the same flat. His wife and daughter are still stuck in the flat and have gone underground due to heavy firing between the forces in the region,” he said.
The situation is such that they could not even take the body to the hospital and it is still lying in the flat, he added.
Mr. Alavelil said that the information received from the Indian Embassy is that they have contacted the Red Cross and trying to move the body and the family from the region.
Meanwhile, the officials from the office of Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan contacted him and have assured all support to bring the body and his family back to the country, he added.
This comes a day after the Embassy of India in Sudan had urged all Indian nationals to stay indoors in view of the clashes. “All Indians are advised to take utmost precautions, stay indoors, and stop venturing outside with immediate effect. Please also stay calm and wait for updates,” a message put out by the Embassy of India in Khartoum had said.
According to the official data, the number of Indians in Sudan is around 4,000 including, 1,200 who have settled down in the country decades ago.
Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force battled fiercely in the capital and other areas, dealing a new blow to hopes for a transition to democracy and raising fears of a wider conflict.
A doctors’ syndicate said on April 16 the death toll rose to 56 with at least 595 people wounded.
The clashes capped months of heightened tensions between the military and its partner-turned-rival, the Rapid Support Forces group.
Those tensions had delayed a deal with political parties to get the country back to its short-lived transition to democracy, which was derailed by an October 2021 military coup.
Chaotic scenes unfolded in the capital of Khartoum, where fighters firing from truck-mounted machine guns battled in densely populated neighbourhoods.
“Fire and explosions are everywhere,” said Amal Mohamed, a doctor in a public hospital in Omdurman.
“We haven’t seen such battles in Khartoum before,” said resident Abdel-Hamid Mustafa.
By the end of the day, the military issued a statement ruling out negotiations with the RSF, instead calling for the dismantling of what it called a “rebellious militia.” The head of the paramilitary group, in turn, branded the armed forces chief a “criminal.” The tough language signalled that the conflict between the former allies, who jointly orchestrated the 2021 coup, was likely to continue.
(with AFP inputs)