Sudanese Winnipegger, safe in Canada after fleeing violence, worries for family left behind

A Sudanese Winnipegger arrived in Canada on Friday night after fleeing violence in her home country.

Winnipeg's Sudanese community held fundraiser to raise support on Saturday

A woman is pictured with two young children.
Hawa Mohamed, pictured with her two children, is from Sudan and went there to visit family in late March. The Canadian citizen fled Sudan's capital on April 25 and arrived back in Winnipeg on Friday. (Submitted by Hawa Mohamed)

A Sudanese Winnipegger arrived in Canada Friday night after narrowly escaping the deadly violence that has gripped her home country.

Hawa Mohamed, a Canadian citizen who has lived in Winnipeg since 2008, arrived in Sudan to visit family on March 31. Her mother's home is a block away from where the violence broke out in the capital city of Khartoum on April 15, she said.

A power struggle between two rival generals led to the violence, which has left hundreds of people dead and thousands more injured.

"I'm so glad and I'm so happy to be here today. I was thinking [that I was] gone," Hawa told CBC News.

Food, water and medical supplies were difficult to find amid the fighting, she said, but her brothers were able to gather rice and untreated water in the brief moments when the gunshots stopped.

Her mother is diabetic and had part of her leg amputated less than two months ago, and Hawa's family struggled to find medical supplies to keep the open wound in a clean bandage, she said.

Dead bodies collected on the streets in Khartoum as people were afraid they might get shot if they went outside to collect them, she said.

Hawa escaped to the Wadi Seidna Air Base north of Khartoum on April 25. She made it to Cyprus before flying back to Winnipeg on April 28, fleeing because she has one kidney and her medication was running out.

WATCH | 'I'm not OK': Hawa Mohamed talks about fleeing the violence in Sudan:

Sudanese Winnipegger, safe in Canada after fleeing violence, worries for family left behind

5 months ago
Duration 2:14
A Sudanese Winnipegger arrived in Canada Friday night after narrowly escaping the deadly violence that has gripped her home country.

Winnipeg fundraiser

Hawa hasn't been able to communicate with her family in Sudan since, as internet and phone connections in the country have been unstable, she said.

She called the violence in Sudan "unbelievable" and said she's never experienced anything like it in her life. She said many innocent people were dying after being hit by stray bullets, which littered her mother's and brother's homes.

"I couldn't believe that I made it."

Hawa was one attendee at a fundraiser held by Winnipeg's Sudanese community at the Chalmers Community Centre on Saturday evening.

A group of teens holding flags and signs in support of Sudan are shown.
Winnipeg's Sudanese community held a fundraiser on Saturday at the Chalmers Community Centre. (Özten Shebahkeget/CBC)

Mohamed Mohamed, who also attended the fundraiser, immigrated to Canada from Sudan five years ago.

His elderly parents, two sisters and brother live in the centre of Khartoum, where he said Sudan's crisis is at its worst and continues to deteriorate.

With an eight-hour time difference, Mohamed said many Sudanese people in Winnipeg are struggling to stay in touch with their families and go to work in the morning.

"I can't describe that feeling, because it's very painful and it's a nightmare. You can't sleep," he told CBC News.

"It's very hard for people living here just to balance between their life here and [to] keep connected to their family back home."

A man in a suit is pictured.
Mohamed Mohamed wants to see the international community intervene and put a stop to the violence in his home country. (Özten Shebahkeget/CBC)

Inflation in Canada has made things more difficult, and many Sudanese Winnipeggers are looking for extra jobs to support their families back in Sudan, Mohamed said.

He is urging the Canadian government to provide immediate humanitarian support to the Sudanese and introduce special immigration measures so they can escape. He would also like to see the international community intervene to stop the violence.

"This is a time for the international community to stand up and just support Sudanese people," he said.

"Who's going to pay … the cost of this? The innocent people of Sudan."

While Hawa is now safe with her husband and children in Winnipeg, she said she is in shock and can still see dead bodies and hear gunshots in her sleep.

"I feel like I am not safe — my mom is not safe, my brothers are not safe — I'm not safe."

'We need help'

She wants to see change in her home country and agreed that Sudan needs Canada's support.

"We need them around us. We feel proud to be here, but at this moment we need help."


Özten Shebahkeget is a member of Northwest Angle 33 First Nation who joined CBC Manitoba in 2021 through the inaugural Pathways program. She is Anishinaabe/Turkish Cypriot and grew up in Winnipeg's North End. She holds a master of fine arts in writing from the University of Saskatchewan. You can reach her at

With files from Josh Crabb