Sudan: Last-minute call for Britons hoping to escape as UK rescue flights open up to foreign NHS doctors

British nationals seeking to flee Sudan had only until midday local time if they wanted to be evacuated from the war-torn country as NHS doctors without UK passports were told they can now catch final rescue flights.

The Foreign Office had urged those still in the African nation to travel to the Wadi Saeedna airfield near Khartoum by 12pm local time (11am UK time) in order to be processed.

The last flight is due to leave at 7pm local time (6pm UK time).

It is understood the number of Britons arriving at the airport had dropped dramatically ahead of the deadline with a "trickle" of people turning up over several hours.

In pictures supplied by the Ministry of Defence yesterday, children were seen among those being helped by British forces.

More than 1,500 people on 13 flights have so far been flown out of Sudan.

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The government also confirmed foreign NHS medics and eligible dependents would also now be evacuated because there was spare capacity on the final flights.

A spokesperson said: "We are able to offer this increased eligibility thanks to the efforts of the staff and military who have delivered this evacuation - the largest of any western country.

"We continue to work intensively, alongside international partners, to maintain the ceasefire and bring an end to fighting - the single most important thing we can do to ensure the safety of British nationals and others in Sudan."

It follows criticism of the speed of the British evacuation, which was bought more time after a 72-hour extension to the ceasefire between the two warring factions was agreed on Thursday.

Despite the truce agreement, heavy fighting has continued between the army and a rival paramilitary force in the capital and surrounding areas, including strikes by air, tanks and artillery.

Tens of thousands have fled the violence between the military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has derailed an internationally-backed transition towards democratic elections.

The deadly power struggle has also rekindled a two-decade-old conflict in the western Darfur region and threatens to trigger instability across the volatile wider region.

The fighting has led to food shortages, power cuts and forced many hospitals to close.

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At least 512 people have been killed and close to 4,200 injured, according to the United Nations, which believes the number of casualties is much higher.

The latest ceasefire, brokered by foreign powers, is supposed to last until Sunday at midnight, but both sides are accusing the other of violations.