Saturday, October 28, 2023

UK Assistance for Britons Trapped in Sudan Amid Violence Severely Limited



The UK government has warned that its ability to provide assistance to British nationals in Sudan is severely limited due to the ongoing violence in the country. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said diplomats and their families had been evacuated from Sudan in a “complex and rapid” operation, but some Britons still in the country feel abandoned.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi agreed on Sunday to work with international partners on diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire. Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said the prime minister should now focus on “phase two” of evacuations to ensure all British passport holders who want to leave the country can be extracted.

The British army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have been involved in the evacuation efforts, with C-130 Hercules and Airbus A400M transport aircraft used at the weekend. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said more than 1,000 military personnel had been mobilised at very short notice.

A UK citizen in Sudan, William, described a chaotic situation as he opted to leave the capital Khartoum on a bus, organised by his Sudanese employer to take him and other nationals to Egypt. He said the UK government had given him “nothing” in terms of support, adding that communication was becoming increasingly difficult due to the internet being down and people running out of data.

Several other countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain have been evacuating their diplomats and citizens. The US embassy in Khartoum is now closed, and a tweet on its official feed says it is not safe enough for the government to evacuate private US citizens.

The UK government is urging British citizens in Sudan to tell the Foreign Office where they are in case more help becomes available, and a hotline has been set up for those who need urgent help. Prime Minister Sunak and Foreign Secretary Cleverly have both said that the UK remains “absolutely committed” to supporting Britons in Sudan, but without a ceasefire, their ability to provide assistance is severely limited.

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