May 27, 2024

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Sudan crisis: UK’s latest evacuation flight leaves rescue efforts winding down

Sudan crisis: UK’s latest evacuation flight leaves rescue efforts winding down

  • Written by Paul Adams and Charlie Adams
  • Diplomatic reporter

image source, British Ministry of Defence

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The government said 1,888 Britons had been rescued from Sudan

A government minister said the evacuation of people from Sudan had been “very successful”, as the UK had completed the evacuation.

The Foreign Ministry said the latest flight left the capital, Khartoum, at 22:00 local time (21:00 GMT) on Saturday.

“We cannot stay there forever in these dangerous conditions,” said Foreign Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

A 72-hour ceasefire collapsed on Saturday as armed factions escalated their battle for control of the capital.

Bombers and heavy artillery are targeting parts of Khartoum, while the Sudanese army has claimed that it is attacking the city in all directions to try to expel the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Tens of thousands of people have fled the country since fighting swept Sudan two weeks ago.

The death toll is believed to be much higher than the last official figure of 459, and the United Nations fears hundreds of thousands could be displaced if the conflict continues.

Other countries frantically evacuated their citizens, while some fled via unofficial routes by boat and bus.

On Saturday evening, the US government said it had completed its first rescue operation for its citizens. It added that US citizens and permanent residents were taken in a convoy to Port Sudan and were crossing the Red Sea by boat to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

The UK government, which began evacuations last Tuesday, has faced criticism for not responding quickly enough to help its citizens after it began the airlift after other European countries saved hundreds.

She also faced pressure to evacuate only British nationals and exclude NHS doctors – but later made a U-turn and decided to let them board flights.

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British nationals were evacuated to Cyprus before traveling to the United Kingdom

Last weekend, special forces were sent to evacuate British diplomats from Khartoum after fighting broke out around the embassy, ​​but the British passport holders were not rescued until a few days later.

Speaking to the BBC in Nairobi, Mitchell said the evacuation flights were right.

He told the BBC, “I don’t think there is a single Briton in Khartoum who doesn’t know about the evacuation and the influx of people coming to the airport indicates that this is true.”

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Witness: The child meets his father for the first time after being evacuated from Sudan to the UK

He said the UK government was “looking at each option individually to help British citizens caught up in this terrible crisis”.

He added that he was concerned the situation could become “incredibly dangerous” unless there was a permanent ceasefire.

He said, “The whole international system is looking at ways to stop this fighting, and it is after all two generals who are ousting him for power.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson said the UK’s evacuation from Sudan was “the largest of any Western country”.

Millions of people are still trapped in Khartoum, where it suffers from shortages of food, water and fuel.

image source, British Ministry of Defence

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The families managed to flee war-torn Sudan with the support of the British Army.

More than 20 NHS doctors were initially told they could not board flights because they were not British citizens, despite having UK work permits.

The change of heart came after the plight of the Sudanese doctor, Dr. Abdul Rahman Babiker, became apparent. He was in Sudan visiting relatives for Eid when the fighting broke out.

At first he was refused a place on a British evacuation flight but after media coverage and contact with the MP, the criteria were widened and he was allowed to join. Landed in the UK on Saturday afternoon.