June 25, 2024

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The government minister said: We cannot stay in Sudan forever

The government minister said: We cannot stay in Sudan forever

  • Written by Paul Adams and Charlie Adams
  • Diplomatic reporter

photo caption,

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

A government minister said the evacuation of people from Sudan had been “extremely successful”.

British nationals have arrived at an airstrip north of the capital, Khartoum, for their final rescue flights to the UK.

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

Tens of thousands of people have fled the country since fighting between rival army factions swept Sudan nearly 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.

The government said more than 1,650 people had been evacuated from the capital, Khartoum, and more than 1,000 had been transferred to the UK.

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

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.

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 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.”

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

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The Ministry of Defense told the BBC that flights would continue to leave Sudan until all people who had checked in at the airport before the deadline of midday local time (11:00 GMT) had been evacuated.

It has now set up an office to help Britons trying to flee the country in the port city of Port Sudan.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said that a British ship named RFA Cardigan Bay is on its way to the eastern coast of Sudan.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said earlier this week that they could be deployed in future evacuations or humanitarian efforts.

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.