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World Tour: Evacuating Sudan


WORLD Radio - World Tour: Evacuating Sudan

Plus: the deadly aftermath of a cult decision in Kenya, reevaluating defense in Australia, and vigilante violence against gang members in Haiti

A Lebanese citizen who was evacuated from Sudan, kisses his son upon his arrival at Rafik Hariri international airport, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, April 25, 2023. AP Photo/Hussein Malla

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Sudan update — Today’s roundup kicks off in Sudan, where evacuations are still ongoing as fighting continues.

SOUND: [Airplane]

More than a thousand European Union citizens left Sudan over the weekend. Other governments including the United States, Canada, Jordan, and Japan are also rushing to get their diplomatic staff and citizens out of the country.

On Monday, the first group of Kenyan evacuees landed at the airport in Nairobi.

This businesswoman was among those who returned.

BUSINESSWOMAN: I thank God that I’m home finally. I have gone through a lot of trauma in Sudan and I walked from my, my apartment when the shooting was still going on.

The Sudanese military forces and a powerful paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces are battling for control. The two generals on the warring sides are former allies who orchestrated a coup together in 20-21. More than 420 people have died, many of them civilians.

The fighting has destroyed dozens of hospitals and left people without food, water, and electricity.

Abdullahi Hassan is a researcher at Amnesty International.

ABDULLAHI HASSAN: Most of the hospitals in key cities including Khartoum have been shut down, people have been unable to access them in the first place and there are no services being provided at those health centers. Doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers are getting targeted, they are also, you know, afraid for their own safety.

Airstrikes have also destroyed civilian planes and at least one runway in Sudan’s international airport, leaving many Sudanese to seek shelter in other provinces or travel by road.

Kenya cult deaths — Next, to Kenya.

SOUND: [Forensic workers]

Police are still looking for more victims after exhuming the bodies of over 70 cult members.

Authorities said Pastor Paul Makenzie Nthenge of the Good News International Church had instructed church members in southern Kenya to fast to death in order to meet Jesus.

Authorities began uncovering the bodies in shallow graves on Nthenge’s land in the town of Malindi on Friday, after a tip from a human rights group.

Kenyan President William Ruto likened the pastor’s actions to terrorism.

PRESIDENT RUTO: Terrorists use religion to advance their heinous acts. People like Mr. Makenzie are using religion to do exactly the same thing.

Authorities detained Nthenge earlier this month. He was arrested twice before in cases linked to the deaths of children. Both cases are still in court.

Australia defense review — In Australia, authorities are mulling over a defense overhaul.

SOUND: [Meeting]

The country plans to spend more money on defense and munitions to increase its regional security. On Monday, a committee made the recommendation after a government-commissioned defense review.

Australia is trying to shift from its decades-old strategy of protecting its borders… to deterring enemies before they reach its shores. The review noted China’s military buildup as a regional threat.

Here’s Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles:

RICHARD MARLES: Now most of those objectives as part of the new mission of the Australian Defense Force are well beyond our shores. And so we need to have a defense force, which has the capacity to engage in impactful projection through the full spectrum of proportionate response.

Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the army’s maximum range of weapons will extend from 25 miles to more than 186 miles. The military will also acquire precision strike missiles of more than 300 miles.

Haiti mob killing — We close today in Haiti, where a vigilante mob in the capital city of Port-au-Prince burned 13 suspected gang members to death.

SOUND: [People watching]

Police detained and disarmed the gang suspects at a traffic stop on Monday when a crowd pulled them away.

Witnesses said the crowd stoned the suspects before burning them to death with gasoline-soaked tires.

The Haitian National Police confirmed the vigilante killings, but did not say how the crowd was able to pull the suspects from custody.

Criminal gangs control about 60 percent of the capital in Haiti.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

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