Final UK evacuation flights depart
Two extra evacuation flights carrying British nationals have left Sudan, as UK efforts now turn to diplomacy and humanitarian aid.
The “exceptional” flights – billed as the last UK airlift from Sudan – took off from Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast on Monday evening.
It comes after the military rescue flights from an airstrip, near Sudanese capital Khartoum, ended on Saturday.
Nearly 2,200 people had been evacuated as of Monday afternoon.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said it will release passenger numbers for the two latest flights on Tuesday.
British nationals and others, including Sudanese NHS staff, were asked to travel to Port Sudan by midday on Monday for the “additional exceptional” flights.
The Foreign Office would not confirm the movements of the flights, but a flight tracking website showed a RAF transport Hercules aircraft landed in Larnaca at 22:45 local time (20:45). A RAF Atlas transport aircraft was due to land in the coming hours.
The UK government said it ended evacuation flights from Wadi Saeedna airfield because of a decline in demand by British nationals and the “increasingly volatile situation” on the ground, with the last military plane taking off from the airfield on Saturday night.
It comes as airstrikes and fighting were reported over the weekend despite a ceasefire between the Sudanese army and its rival the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
The UK government described the operation in Sudan as the “longest and largest airlift” by any Western nation, with 2,197 people airlifted from the war-torn nation as of 17:30 Sudan time on Monday.
This figure included 1,087 people from other nations, including the US and Germany.
In addition, a UK team is providing consular assistance in Port Sudan, where they will be helping British nationals leave by commercial routes. Royal Navy ship HMS Lancaster is supporting evacuation efforts from Sudan.
The FCDO said the situation remains volatile and “our ability to conduct evacuations could change at short notice”.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “With thanks to the extraordinary efforts of staff and military, the UK has brought 2,197 people to safety from Sudan so far – the largest airlift by any Western nation.
“As the focus turns to humanitarian and diplomatic efforts, we will continue do all we can to press for a long-term ceasefire and an immediate end to the violence in Sudan.”
Options to provide humanitarian assistance to Sudanese people in coordination with the UN and NGOs is being explored, the FCDO said.
Fighting has entered its third week in Sudan. Tens of thousands of people have fled the country since fighting engulfed the country more than two weeks ago.
The capital city Khartoum has seen the heaviest fighting, with the Sudanese military and the Rapid Support Forces, a powerful paramilitary group, fighting for control of the country.
Sudan’s military said on Saturday it was launching a major new offensive against RSF positions in Khartoum.
The latest truce, which has not held, was due to end at midnight on Sunday. But the RSF said the ceasefire had been extended for another three days.
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