Dozens of Sudanese women and children arrived in Khartoum from Juba on Friday as Sudan began evacuating its nationals from South Sudan, which split from the north five years ago.
South Sudanese voted for independence from Sudan under a peace agreement in 2011 but the world’s youngest country fell into a civil war that has killed tens of thousands.
South Sudan was rocked by fighting again last week when fierce battles erupted in the capital ahead of the country’s independence anniversary.
Although a ceasefire has held since late on Monday, the United Nations has warned of the possibility of renewed fighting in Juba.
Specially chartered planes have taken foreign nationals out of the country since Wednesday.
Sudan too began evacuating its nationals and the first flight carrying 76 Sudanese arrived in Khartoum on Friday afternoon.
“We are focusing on bringing women, children and elderly people first,” government official Gamal Ahmed told reporters at Khartoum airport.
“There will be other flights bringing more people.”
Officials said on Thursday that Sudan would run three to four flights a day to bring its nationals home.
“Most of them are traders and those working in international NGOs. They are in their thousands,” government official Hajj Magid Suor told Sudan Media Centre, an outlet close to the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service.
Four days of intense battles last week between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and former rebels backing Vice President Riek Machar left hundreds dead in Juba and prompted more than 40 000 to flee their homes.