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Revealed: How elite team of British troops evacuated UK diplomats from Sudan’s warzone capital

Under cover of darkness, the covert operation to evacuate British diplomats from Sudan’s capital warzone began.

The elite British soldiers flew to Khartoum on a US military aircraft late Saturday night as part of a separate, but coordinated US rescue mission.

After landing, British soldiers drove away from their American counterparts and acquired local vehicles. They then drove through the city to the UK Embassy.

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According to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, British nationals “remain top priority”.

Sudan: British nationals plead for help

The British mission’s diplomats and the area in which they are located is between Sudan, making it extremely dangerous to remove them.

On Saturday morning, the people who would be saved had already gathered together.

Around two dozen British diplomatic staff plus their families, as well as some officials from other countries that Britain offered to assist were thought to have been involved.

Sudan: More Information

The troops prepared the extraction after meeting with the evacuation group of 30 people, which included children.

They needed to evaluate the situation, which had been the scene of violent fighting for the last week and a quarter. Then they could decide if it was safe to send them out with no additional backup.

Two Royal Air Force transport aircraft – a C-130 Hercules, and an A400M Airbus – took off simultaneously from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, a vast British military base.

Around 1am Sunday morning UK time, the aircraft, which was operating in coordination and cooperation with the French, US and Sudanese armed forces, and with permission of the Sudanese Military, landed at a Sudanese airport called Wadi Sidna, located about 30km north-east of Khartoum.

It was an hour and half after the US aircraft carrying the first team of elite British troops had landed at Khartoum.

Next, the UK rescue mission entered its potentially most dangerous stage.

The elite British team with the diplomats was required to travel 30km (18 miles) from the assembly point to the airfield, passing through several checkpoints.

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The UK Defence planners were ready to send more troops and aircraft if heavy fighting occurred, and they had the capability to “punch” through the checkpoints to reach the diplomats.

The soldiers would have had to protect the diplomats until the help arrived, not drive them away.

Fortunately, the situation was calm enough for the soldiers to take their passengers up to the airfield.

In the event of a need, a unit of soldiers from the two aircraft that brought vehicles into the operation was also mobilised. They moved to the rescue team.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the British troops had been subjected to any shelling or gunfire.

The diplomats, their families, and the planes themselves took off around 9am UK time and headed to Cyprus.

The aircraft was thought to have been on the ground between seven and eight hours.

By using this form, British nationals or those with UK passports can inform the government of their situation if they find themselves trapped in Sudan .


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