Armed men ‘stormed’ home of Irish EU ambassador in Sudan, says commission

Long-serving diplomat Aidan O’Hara assaulted and residence robbed in Khartoum incident

Armed men wearing military fatigues “stormed” the residence of the Irish diplomat serving as the European Union’s ambassador to Sudan in an incident earlier this week, the European Commission has said.

A long-serving diplomat in the Department of Foreign Affairs before he became an EU ambassador, Aidan O’Hara was assaulted in the incident on Monday, which was strongly condemned by the EU’s diplomatic service.

The head of staff of humanitarian aid in Khartoum was also hurt, a spokesperson for the European Commission said.

“As for what happened at the residence of the ambassador, some armed men wearing military fatigues stormed the residence, and robbed it,” a European Commission spokesperson told journalists on Wednesday. “They did not identify themselves.”


The ambassador is continuing to work in his post, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said he was not seriously hurt.

Chief EU diplomat Josep Borrell previously described the incident as a “gross violation of the Vienna Convention”, saying that Sudanese authorities had failed to ensure the security of diplomatic premises and staff.


The Japanese government has said it has begun preparations to evacuate its citizens from Sudan, where fighting between the regular army and the rival paramilitary rapid support forces has killed at least 185 people and caused a humanitarian crisis.

The commission spokesperson said that it was monitoring the situation but that diplomatic staff remained in place.

“The EU delegation so far is not evacuated, the security measures are being assessed as we speak,” the spokesperson said.

There are concerns of a worsening humanitarian crisis as the fighting shut hospitals and hampered the work of aid organisations, which many people rely on in a country which had been undergoing a transition to democracy after mass protests forced out autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said that humanitarian relief workers and facilities were being targeted and that the UN was “receiving reports of attacks and sexual violence against aid workers”.

“The targeting and looting of humanitarian premises must stop,” the United Nations office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs appealed on Tuesday. “Attacks on humanitarian assets and facilities will severely impact our ability to resume lifesaving operations.”

The World Food Programme halted its operations across the country after three of its staff were killed in the fighting last Saturday. A UN plane was hit in crossfire at Khartoum airport, while a US convoy came under attack despite bearing diplomatic licence plates.

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary is Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times