SEPANG: After a traumatic five-day journey which saw them on a 1,300km bus trip that took 33 hours, an overnight boat trip and an almost 10-hour flight, 33 evacuees from conflict-hit Sudan have finally arrived safely at KLIA.
The 30 Malaysians and three non-Malaysians arrived at 2.55pm yesterday on Saudi Airlines flight SV834 from Jeddah, ending Ops Sudan that started on April 23.
The non-Malaysians were from Palestine, the Philippines and Thailand.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the fighting had taken everyone by surprise. “In Libya (in 2011), the fighting was outside the city in the beginning but in Sudan it started inside the city,” he said.
The group left Khartoum on April 23, making a 33-hour journey by bus to Port Sudan.
It was a journey that would normally take half the time.
They arrived in Port Sudan at 2.07pm on Monday Sudan time (8.07 pm Malaysian time).
From there, they left for Jeddah via ferry on Tuesday night, arriving in the Saudi city on Wednesday.
Zambry said Malaysians who wish to visit Sudan should delay their plans.
Zambry, who was at KLIA to welcome the group, urged families to contact the government if there were those still in Sudan but unregistered.
“Based on information from the embassy and the ministry here, there aren’t any Malaysians there,” he said.
Zambry said the success of bringing home Malaysians was made possible by the efforts of all parties, including the concern expressed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.