SEAL Team 6, Army Special Forces Rescue Mission to Evacuate US Embassy in Sudan

Photo Credits: CBS News

WASHINGTON D.C (April 24, 2023) – Definitely not a “Jarhead” movie. United States Military forces, including Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six, swooped into action last Saturday night – April 22, rescuing US Diplomats and evacuating the American Embassy in Khartoum, the war-torn capital of Sudan. Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims, director of operations for the Joint Chief of Staff, described the evacuation operation as being “fast and clean.” Among the evacuees were Americans from the US embassy, U.S. Marines who were providing security for the embassy, and other personnel from unidentified embassies. The mission began on Saturday morning when two MH-47 Chinook helicopters (a special missions heavy-lift helicopter used by the US Army) took off from Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti to Khartoum in Sudan, after refueling in Ethiopia. Djibouti is a small country on the northeastern coast of Africa to the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. In less than an hour, the SEAL Team Six were already on the ground executing the evacuation, a U.S official told ABC News. The helicopters flew low to the ground in pitch black and did not receive any ground fire on their way in and way out of Khartoum.

The decision to evacuate, under the orders of President Biden, is related to the ongoing conflict as a result of a violent power struggle between the National Army led by General Abdul Fatah Al-baran and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group commanded by the Sudanese Armed Forces led by General Muhammad Hamdan de Gallo. These two men had been sharing power since leading a coup in 2021, but recently disagreed with how Sudan should be ruled moving forward. The ongoing conflict has claimed more than 420 lives and left more than 3,700 people injured in just two weeks, according to the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office. “The widespread fighting has caused significant numbers of civilian deaths and injuries, damage to essential infrastructure and posed unacceptable security risk and safety of Embassy personnel,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The Rapid Support Forces, and the Sudanese paramilitary group battling Sudan’s army, issued a statement claiming to have assisted in the U.S. evacuation. “ Today, Sunday, the Rapid Support Forces, in coordination with the US Forces mission consisting of 6 planes for the purpose of evacuating diplomats and their families, supervised the necessary arrangements that preceded the evacuation process,” the statement read. State Department Under Secretary for Management John Bass contested those claims. “That was not the case. They cooperated to the extent that they did not fire on our service members in the course of the operation,” he said. “I would submit that it was as much in their self-interest as anything else.”

The quickly deteriorating situation in recent days prompted the Biden administration to seek military assistance in rescuing embassy personnel. However, private U.S citizens in Khartoum are not offered similar assistance. The administration continues to stay in close contact with many of the American citizen residents in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan to brief them on the security environment and to encourage them to take the best appropriate precautions possible.