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PM chairs COBRA meeting over ‘extremely concerning’ situation in Sudan as Britons trapped by fighting

Prime Minister Rishi sunak presided over an emergency COBRA session to discuss the “extremely worrying” situation in Sudan.

According to the Sudanese army chief, the UK intends to evacuate diplomats as well as nationals of Sudan.

In the event of violent clashes, France, China and the US are all preparing to send out their nationals.

“We are aware of the serious situation that British nationals in Sudan face,” said a spokesperson for the UK government.


The Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office are working together to prepare for various contingencies.

Yesterday, two COBRA meetings were also held.

Sky News reports that Britain has put troops and aircraft at an overseas base on standby in case they need to transport embassy staff or UK citizens out of the country.

According to a statement from the Sudanese army, citing Abdel Fatteh al Burhan, “it is expected that the evacuation process will start in the next few hours. The United States, Britain France and China are expected to evacuate their diplomats, nationals, by air, using military transport planes of their armed forces, starting immediately, out of Khartoum.”

Picture: AP Photo: Dozens or more UK diplomats are believed to be in the Khartoum embassy. Pic: AP

This follows the promise made by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, RSF) to open up airports for evacuations.

Jordanian diplomats will soon follow the Saudi Arabian diplomats who have already left Port Sudan.

British forces can also be deployed to other airfields near Sudan.

The United States, France and the UK have bases in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of Djibouti spoke with Ismail Omar Guelleh on Friday to discuss the violence that broke out in Sudan after the two warring Generals sparked it.

It is believed that there are dozens of UK officials and diplomats at the embassy of Khartoum, as well as many hundreds of UK nationals in Sudan. If dual nationals are included, the figure could reach thousands.

Sudan has been gripped by fierce fighting in the last few days, as the army and RSF fight for power. This has resulted in hundreds of deaths and forced residents into hiding.

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Briton trapped in Sudan: “It’s grim”

Thomas Okedi, a humanitarian aid worker, spoke to Sky News in the northwestern city El Fasher, in North Darfur. El Fasher is located 1,290 miles (802 km) away from Khartoum. The city is without electricity and it’s currently 41C (105F). No water is available in the households. “Food is running out fast in the city.”

Mr Okedi who works for the Norwegian Refugee Council said: “The challenge that humanitarian workers don’t have any guarantee of security to access populations in needs, so nothing happens in terms of humanitarian action.”

He called for international action to make sure that those in need could receive the supplies they needed.

img alt=”Stills from UNHCR showing refugees from Sudan in Chad. class=”sdc-article-image__item” intrinsicsize=”768×432″ loading=”lazy” sizes=”(min-width: 1024px) 1024px, 100vw” src=”” srcset=”×216/skynews-chad-refugee-sudan_6129577.jpg?20230422150111 380w, 760w, 1024w, 2048w”/>
Photo: Refugee camps in Chad are under increasing pressure due to the latest conflict. Pics: UNHCR/Aristophane Ngargoune
img alt=”Stills from UNHCR showing refugees from Sudan in Chad. class=”sdc-article-image__item” intrinsicsize=”768×432″ loading=”lazy” sizes=”(min-width: 1024px) 1024px, 100vw” src=”” srcset=”×216/skynews-chad-sudan-refugee_6129578.jpg?20230422150214 380w, 760w, 1024w, 2048w”/>

The latest conflict forced thousands of people to flee and cross into Chad. Refugee camps in Chad were already being pressed by the long-lasting violence in Darfur.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed to a UK government spokesperson that it supports the Foreign Commonwealth and Development officer “with prudent planning” for different contingencies.

The spokesperson said: “We’re coordinating with all levels of government, as well as our international partners, to ensure that British nationals receive the best possible consular support and to provide our diplomatic staff with ongoing support.” We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.

British nationals have been advised to stay inside, and to register their presence in Sudan via a Foreign Office Website.

Read More:

Why is violence spreading in Sudan?

Images before and after violent clashes show the impact

Sudan fighting: What’s happening?

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Fighting continues in Sudan

The UK may launch its own evacuation effort or join any multi-national effort depending on how much risk the government ministers are willing to accept, given that this would require deploying military personnel into a nation where there is active fighting.

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The UK could deploy troops across the border by helicopter or land to assist in any evacuation.

One option would be for the UK to ask France or the United States, who have a larger military presence in the area, to help rescue Britons.


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