The first batch of 360 Indian citizens evacuated from conflict-hit Sudan arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday night, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

The violence in Sudan broke out on April 15 after weeks of rising tensions between military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, over a proposed plan to merge the Rapid Support Forces – a powerful paramilitary group – into the national Army. Daglo commands the Rapid Support Forces.

The warring factions had agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire on Monday. India began evacuating its citizens from the north African country the next day.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan is in Jeddah to oversee the evacuation process. The stranded Indians are first being moved to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as part of the government’s Operation Kaveri before they are brought back.

At a press conference on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said 246 more Indians are on their way to Maharashtra from Jeddah. “We currently have approximately 495 Indian nationals who are in Jeddah,” he said.

Kwata added that there are 320 Indian nationals at Port Sudan awaiting evacuation.

There are approximately 3,500 Indians and 1,000 persons of Indian origin in Sudan, according to the foreign secretary.

Both the warring factions in Sudan have been vying for supremacy since they worked together to overthrow the country’s long-term authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The military later agreed to share power with civilians but the rivalry between the two men has twice led to postponement of the signing of an agreement with civilian factions.

The violence has led to 427 fatalities so far and left over 3,700 injured, AFP reported, citing agencies of the United Nations.