A UK-born student attempting to flee Sudan has described devastating scenes in the country’s capital, with prisoners running rampant, families being bombed out of their homes, gunfire in the streets and roads full of tanks.
Samar Eltayeb, 20, from Birmingham, is a third year medical student at National University in Khartoum, Sudan.
She is a dual-national and is currently waiting to be evacuated to join her parents, three brothers and two sisters back in the UK.
Speaking from the house of a relative on the outskirts of Khartoum on Tuesday, she told the PA news agency: “Imagine the movie, Purge – it’s just like that. The prisoners got released from the prison yesterday. So there’s murderers and people who’ve committed manslaughter and thieves everywhere.”
Ms Eltayeb said: “People have mentioned that they’ve been looted, and they took their stuff and their money, and they were just left in the middle of nowhere.
“It was really scary.”
More than 420 people, including at least 273 civilians, have been killed since fighting began on April 15.
The British Government is taking advantage of a 72-hour ceasefire agreed by the warring factions in Sudan to evacuate UK nationals.
Asked if her family are worried about her, Ms Eltayeb said: “Yes, especially the little ones who keep calling me, saying: ‘Oh Samar, are you okay? Are you gonna die?’”
On the day the fighting started, Samar woke up at her student accommodation to the sound of gunfire.
She said: “When everything first happened, I was in my dorm. It was in the hotspot and I heard everything.
“All the girls were screaming and I was like: ‘Oh my God, this is real.’”
Two days later, a relative picked her up and drove her 40 minutes to his house on the outskirts of Khartoum.
She said: “As we were driving, the actual main road was closed because there were so many tanks.
“That other way had the military people and they stopped us and asked where you’re going, who’s in the back, and asked us to open up the trunk. It was a lot.”
Asked about the violence she has witnessed first-hand, Ms Eltayeb said: “I haven’t seen anything but my mum has told me our family house has been bombed.
“Buildings have just been destroyed by missiles.
“I’m afraid that I’m never going to see Khartoum again.”
She is now trying to get to the Wadi Saidna Air Base 14 miles north of Khartoum – an hour’s drive away, but does not have enough petrol to make the journey.
“I’m trying to get there. But the problem is the vehicles that we have have no gas, and the petrol stations are empty,” she said.
“There’ll be constant flights within the next few days, but if I can’t find gas to get there, then I’m stuck.
“I’ve been trying to find other ways to leave this country like the Egyptian border, or getting a boat to Jeddah in Saudi (Arabia). But as it’s just me, I can’t travel by myself in this really unsafe country.”
Ms Eltayeb described the response from the British embassy as mixed, stating: “I did try to call the embassy the first day this happened, and they didn’t tell me anything. They were just like, ‘stay indoors’.”
She added: “Today, they’ve actually been helpful and said evacuations are going to happen within the next couple of days.”
Ms Eltayeb is also concerned about friends who have no route out of Sudan.
“A lot of people are kind of just doomed. There’s no way they can escape.
“They’re suffering and they have no water, electricity and no wifi.
“There’s so many resources that are just gone.”
Speaking about the impact of the conflict on the Sudanese people, she said: “The military don’t care about the people at all.
“They’re just kind of fighting amongst themselves, and they don’t care about the damage they’ve caused to our people.
“It’s really selfish. They’re trying to fight in order to be the leader of the country, but they don’t realise that they’re destroying the country that they want to lead.
“It makes no sense.”