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British in Sudan told to reach airfield ‘as soon as possible’ for RAF evacuation

Britons stuck in Sudan have been told to reach an airfield on the outskirts of Khartoum to board RAF evacuation flights “as soon as possible”.

The Foreign Office has removed advice asking the stranded to wait until called, urging British passport holders and their immediate family members to head to Wadi Saeedna airfield now.

“The British government will help British citizens to leave Sudan from April 25; travel to this location as soon as possible to be processed for the flight,” the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said.

The FCDO said only British passport holders and immediate family members would be evacuated, with children, the elderly and those with medical conditions given priority for seats on flights starting Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said UK citizens must make the risky journey to the air base near Khartoum without a military escort, warning it was “impossible” to know how long the lull in fighting would last.

Sudan remains in a “dangerous, volatile and unpredictable” state, the cabinet minister said, as the RAF used a 72-hour ceasefire agreement to launch an ambitious evacuation of thousands of British citizens.

Rishi Sunak authorized the evacuation operation on Monday night, Downing Street said, after facing criticism for failing to airlift more British diplomats and their families over the weekend.

The evacuees will be flown from the Sudanese airbase, believed to be being secured by German forces, back to Britain’s Akrotiri airfield in Cyprus before being taken to Britain.

Priority on flights open to British passport holders will be given to the most vulnerable, with more than 2,000 citizens registered in Sudan with the Foreign Office.

C-130 bound for Sudan to evacuate British citizens at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus


Around 1,400 military personnel are involved in the evacuation effort. An RAF C-130 aircraft carrier left an airbase north of the capital on Tuesday morning after the warring factions agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire.

Cleverly warned that the pause is fragile after speaking directly or through intermediaries with faction leaders, as he asked them to allow the evacuation of British citizens.

“It is important to remember that ceasefires have been announced and collapsed in the past, so the situation remains dangerous, volatile and unpredictable,” he told the media.

The Foreign Secretary has warned UK citizens to get to flights by their own means during the lull in fighting between two rival generals locked in a power struggle.

“We have said that we cannot provide escorts from where British citizens are to the airhead, they will have to get there under their own power, as indeed has been the case for citizens of other countries,” he said.

Egyptian evacuees from Sudan arrive in Cairo


Cleverly also defended the government against suggestions that it should have carried out the evacuations of citizens earlier, as the European allies had managed to do.

“The circumstances of each individual nation are different. There are considerably more British citizens in Sudan than other countries,” she said.

The evacuation plan involves planes similar to those used to rescue Sudanese diplomats on Sunday, with a second possibly Khartoum-bound flight departing from RAF Akrotiri.

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