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British citizen evacuation from Sudan – Call for Official Enquiry

An estimated four thousand British citizens have needed evacuation from Sudan. The UK government commenced its evacuation effort on Tuesday, 25th April, after it had reportedly evacuated its diplomats.

By contrast, one day earlier, on Monday 24th April, EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced that 31 flights would have evacuated an estimated 1,200 EU citizens by the end of the day, with a remaining 400 EU citizens left to be evacuated. “There has been an incredible mobilisation of the Member States” said Mr Borrell, “that have air facilities and air capabilities to move planes, to move soldiers and to move military protection, and taking everybody that they could”.

The UK has denied that its efforts to evacuate embassy staff from Sudan last weekend interfered with Germany’s plans to get its citizens out. It is said that the Sudanese army initially closed access to the key airport after being infuriated by the unauthorised presence of British armed forces on the site.

The delay in British evacuation was one of the reasons why the British Ambassador had to negotiate an extension of the 72-hour ceasefire between the warring factions to allow for more time. The FCDO said eight flights had airlifted 897 people to Cyprus as of Thursday, 27th April. Hopefully the UK has asked EU Member States – alongside the United States – to lend a helping hand to get everyone evacuated, as used to be the case automatically when the UK was a EU Member State. Australia has just thanked France for assisting in the evacuation of its citizens.

The difficulty of non-British nationals with UK residency permits – such as the well-publicised case of Sudanese-born Dr Abdulrahman Babiker and 23 other NHS doctors – to board UK rescue flights has also been heavily criticised by Layla Moran amongst others. If there are any spare seats on a flight, they must certainly be allocated to them.

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