Around 4,000 British nationals are believed to be in Sudan. Foreign secretary James Cleverly has warned that the UK’s ability to assist British citizens is “severely restricted” until the conflict ends.
The evacuation of diplomats and their staff from Sudan comes as governments around the globe continue to battle rival generals for a 9th day without any sign of a ceasefire that was declared in honor a major Muslim festival.
Many Sudanese have tried desperately to escape the chaos in the capital Khartoum. They risked dangerous roads and crossed the border into Egypt to reach the north.
Residents report that fighting has continued in Omdurman, the city located across the Nile River, from Khartoum. This is despite the ceasefire planned to coincide with Eid al Fitr, the three-day Muslim festival.
In a violent conflict between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary force , more than 420 people have died, including 246 civilians. Over 3,700 others have been injured.
The RSF said that the armed forces launched air strikes in the Kafouri area, north of Khartoum.
Andrew Mitchell, UK Minister for International Development and Africa told Sky News’ Kay Burley, this morning, that there was a “situation characterized by chaos and violence in Sudan”, and that “the absolute number one requirement” is to achieve a ceasefire.
He said, “We will do all we can to remove our British citizens.”
Mr Mitchell stated that “an extremely successful, but complex operation was conducted yesterday which got the diplomatics out”.
“We have an obligation to care for diplomats. But I must emphasize that they were in grave danger, because there were guns on both sides of the British Embassy and British Residence. We got them out quickly, just as the Americans did with their diplomats.”
He stated that the current focus is on getting British nationals out of Sudan.
Since we entered 24/7 crisis mode, the tension has always been to facilitate our citizens’ exit as soon as possible.
When asked how this could be achieved, he replied: “I can only tell you that we are exploring every option in depth and that the moment it becomes possible to alter the travel advice, and move the people, we will do so.”
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James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary, presided over the sixth Sudan Cobra Session on Sunday evening to discuss the escalation of violence in this African nation.
Mr Cleverly stated that the government was “absolutely” committed to support Britons living in the country. However, he added that ministers are “severely restricted in their ability to offer assistance to British citizens”.
Senior opposition MPs expressed “deep concern” over the welfare of British citizens still in Sudan.
Micheal Martin has urged Irish citizens to remain indoors. He said that more information on airlift operations will be provided to them.
The Tanaiste, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that it would take a few days.
“I’m pleased with the first outcome of the last 24 hours, but it’s something that is very, very fluid. And remember that the conflict is fierce.”
Violence affects airport operations
The violence that has been ongoing at the airport has affected operations. Civil planes have been destroyed and at least one runway damaged. Thick, black smoke is rising from above. Other airports were also forced to close.
After a week-long battle that hampered rescues, US Special Forces evacuated 70 US Embassy employees from Khartoum and brought them to Ethiopia.
Other countries have also managed to remove their citizens as well as their diplomats despite American officials saying it was too dangerous for a government-coordinated evacuation of thousands of private citizens.
France and Italy have said that they will accommodate any of their citizens who want to leave as well as those from other nations who cannot otherwise take part in an evacuation operation.
Officials confirmed that both President Emmanuel Macron, and his Foreign Minister, received security guarantees from both sides regarding the evacuation.
Two French flights left Khartoum for Djibouti on Sunday with around 2,000 passengers. More flights are planned today.
The German foreign ministry reported that a military aircraft carrying 101 German diplomats, their families and citizens from partner countries evacuated via Jordan from Sudna had safely landed in Berlin.
The foreign ministry reported that an Italian C-130 aircraft, which had evacuated Khartoum, landed at a Djibouti air base on Sunday night. Around 100 people, including 30 Spaniards, were also flown from Khartoum using Spanish military aircraft.