British diplomats evacuated from Khartoum

Smoke rises above buildings in the north of Khartoum

Smoke rises above buildings in the north of Khartoum

British diplomats and their families have been evacuated from Sudan in a “complex and rapid” operation, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed.

Mr Sunak said work was continuing to ensure the safety of British nationals who remain in Sudan.

The evacuees were taken to an airfield outside of Khartoum to fly out of the country overnight, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the BBC.

Fierce violence erupted last week in Khartoum between two opposing forces.

The power struggle between Sudan’s regular army and a paramilitary force called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has seen deadly shooting and shelling in the capital city.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly added that the government was working “around the clock to broker international support to end the bloodshed in Sudan.”

Mr Cleverly said there were “specific threats and violence directed towards diplomats” which led to the decision to evacuate staff.

“We’ve taken the decision to temporarily relocate the embassy,” he said, “that gives us the best opportunity to project our diplomatic support back into Sudan.”

Mr Cleverly added that the governments ability to evacuate other British nationals was “seriously limited” until fighting between warring parties stopped.

The UK’s move follows the evacuation of US diplomats in the early hours of Sunday morning, and the UK defence minister thanked both France and the US for their assistance.

Several other countries including France, the Netherlands and Italy have also begun evacuating citizens.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Wallace said the evacuation of UK diplomatic staff was complex as the embassy was located between the two warring factions’ headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.

He added that young children were among those who were evacuated.

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