Selangor Journal
Junaidah Selamat, 49, speaking to the press when met after arriving safely from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with her children, son Mohamad Ashraf, 18, and daughter Juliana Ashraf, 23, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Sepang, on May 7, 2023. — Picture by BERNAMA

Three family members stranded in Sudan back in Malaysia

SEPANG, May 7 — A Malaysian mother and her two children who were trapped in the Al Gaza region for 22 days, due to the conflict in Sudan, arrived home today.

Junaidah Selamat, 49, and her children, son Mohamad Ashraf, 18, and daughter Juliana Ashraf, 23, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here via Saudia flight SV842 which landed at 4.15am.

However, her husband, Sudanese citizen Ashraf Gasim Elsimd, is still stranded in Port Sudan because he does not have a Saudi Arabian resident pass.

“He is now in Port Sudan and Alhamdulillah, he is safe as he is now out of Khartoum, where the situation is still tense. I hope his passage to Malaysia will be made easy so that we can be reunited,” she told the media after arriving at KLIA.

The family was greeted on arrival by Wisma Putra officials.

The armed conflict between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that broke out in Khartoum and the surrounding area last April 15 has killed more than 500 people, with more than 5,000 people injured and forced more than 100,000 residents to flee to neighbouring countries.

Junaidah thanked the staff at the Malaysian Embassy in Sudan, the Malaysian Consulate General in Jeddah, the government of Saudi Arabia, the Pakistani Embassy in Sudan and all those involved for helping bring her and her children safely out of Khartoum.

The woman, born in Jeram, Selangor, said that on April 15, her husband came home after picking up their children from school and told her that there was going to be a war.

“To me, that is normal because there is always a demonstration in Sudan. But on April 16, when we woke up for the Fajr prayer, we heard the sound of gunfire and shots from tanks, with bullets entering our house,” said the mother of four children, with the other two in Malaysia.

She said the situation became worse as there was no electricity supply and problems getting food and other essential items, especially drinking water, as they were no longer sold, forcing some people to break into shops and houses to steal them.

“Dealing with Covid-19 is better because the war is between life and death. If you are sick you cannot go to the hospital because everything has been taken over and controlled by the army. Other public buildings such as schools are also used as military bases.

“If you want to go out and buy food, you will be stopped by soldiers and they told you to turn back, if you don’t listen, you will be shot,” she said.

Junaidah said it was after the sixth day that she received information from her sister in Malaysia that Wisma Putra was carrying out the process of evacuating Malaysians from Sudan.

“But my name was not called because I was not registered with the Malaysian Embassy in Khartoum. It was my son in Malaysia, Ahmad Ashraf, 25, who informed Wisma Putra and was given a contact number in Sudan.

“Three days later, the Malaysian Embassy in Sudan responded to my email,” she said, adding that she was then told to go to Port Sudan.

She said the journey was terrifying as there were roadblocks everywhere mounted by the army, but they were able to pass through as they had the necessary documents.

— Bernama

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