Deadline passes for final evacuation flight for Britons leaving Sudan

·3-min read
Deadline passes for final evacuation flight for Britons leaving Sudan

The deadline has passed for British nationals to arrive at Port Sudan for what is being billed as the last evacuation flight to leave the country as a fragile ceasefire holds.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had given those looking to flee the war-torn nation until 11am UK time โ€” midday in Sudan โ€” to reach the departure site on the eastern coast.

Officials at the Foreign Office would not confirm what time the flight was due to take off, but flight tracking websites showed a Royal Air Force (RAF) Airbus A400M Atlas plane as having landed at Port Sudan at about 3pm on Monday.

The UK Government said it was โ€œexceptionallyโ€ offering one final flight following a series of repatriation departures out of Sudan last week.

It is understood the flight will airlift a limited number of British nationals left in the country โ€“ which has been rocked by fighting that is pushing Sudan into a humanitarian crisis โ€“ who wish to leave.

Those who wanted to be on the aircraft were instructed to arrive at the Coral Hotel by the midday deadline.

The offer came after the warring factions agreed to extend a fragile ceasefire for a further 72 hours.

However, despite the decision to cease hostilities for three days, troops of the two rival generals clashed in the capital Khartoum on Monday.

The United Nations said the generals, Sudanese army chief General Abdel Fattah Burhan and General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), had agreed to send representatives to the negotiation table in a bid to establish a more stable truce.

Generals Burhan and Dagalo, both with powerful foreign backers, were allies in an October 2021 military coup that halted Sudanโ€™s fraught transition to democracy, but they have since turned on each other.

Sudan unrest
A final RAF flight will leave from Port Sudan on Monday (Sgt Paul Oldfield/MoD/PA)

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) tweeted that the RAF has evacuated more than 2,000 people from Sudan, with most of those UK nationals or their dependents.

โ€œWe have also evacuated civilians from more than 20 other nations โ€“ supporting our allies and partners,โ€ the MoD said.

The British Government has agreed to include NHS doctors without UK passports on its final journeys amid criticism over the scope of its eligibility criteria for evacuation.

Flights had previously been limited to British nationals and their immediate family.

Rescue aircraft have been touching down in Cyprus, which has activated a humanitarian rescue mechanism for evacuating third-country civilians, before arriving in the UK hours later.

The last UK evacuation flight from Wadi Saeedna airfield in Khartoum departed at 9pm on Saturday, with Port Sudan โ€” around 530 miles from the capital โ€” the location for the final British departure.