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UK nationals set to be evacuated from Sudan war zone

UK nationals set to be evacuated from Sudan war zone

Brits have been appealing for help from the government to escape the war torn country
UK nationals are to be evacuated from war torn Sudan by air as fighting around the capital Khartoum intensifies.

Sudan army chief Fattah al-Burhan agreed to faciliate safe passage out of the war zone.

He is locked in a bitter power struggle with the leader of a rival paramilitary faction, the Rapid Support Forces.

Britons have been appealing for emergency diplomatic help having been forced to hole-up amid the battle.

US, French and and Chinese nationals are also among those being flown out of the country to safety under the plans to fly them out from the airport in Khartoum. Fattah al-Burhan agreed to facilitate and secure their evacuation “in the coming hours”, according to a statment from the Sudanese army.

Saudi Arabia confirmed it had evacuated over 150 people from Sudan on Saturday. Among those scooped to safety were diplomats and international officials, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said.

It said it had safely transported 91 Saudi Arabian citizens, as well as 66 others from various other countries including Qatar, Pakistan, the UAE and Canada. They were evacuated by sea, state TV channel Al-Ekhbariyah reported. It is unclear where in Sudan they were evacuated from.

Meanwhile, the UK government said it was preparing for “a number of contingencies” and “doing everything possible to support British nationals and diplomatic staff in Khartoum”.

It said its defence ministry was working with the foreign office to prepare for a number of provisions, without specifying whether immediate evacuations were among those plans.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak chaired a Cobra meeting - an emergency response committee - on Saturday morning about the situation in Sudan.

Previously it had been reported that UK ministers have put forces on standby should an airlift operation be required to allow British embassy staff and other citizens based in the country to escape.

A British citizen in Khartoum told the BBC she felt “completely abandoned” by the British government, adding that she had not been given “much information at all” about possible plans to be evacuated.

She said: “It remains very depressing, worrying and confusing to be a Brit on the ground here. We’re still very much in the dark.

“We don’t have a plan, we don’t even have a kind of plan for a plan. We understand that this is a fast-evolving situation but to be honest we’ve just in many senses been completely abandoned here.”

Meanwhile Spain’s defence minister said six planes were being sent to Djibouti as part of the country’s efforts to evacuate Spanish nationals and others.

Khartoum’s international airport has been closed amid the fighting with foreign embassies unable to bring their citizens home up to this point.

The conflict has entered its second week despite both sides - the army and the RSF - agreeing to a three-day ceasefire to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, starting from Friday. But fighting continued on Saturday.

A former foreign minister, Mariam al-Mahdi, who is sheltering in Khartoum said the ceasefire was “not taking at all”.

She said: “We are out of electricity for the last 24 hours. We are out of water for the last six days...There are rotting bodies of our youth in the streets.”
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