The Royal Air Force (RAF) flew 1,888 people on 21 flights from war-torn Sudan in the British government’s evacuation operation, which ended Saturday night.
The UK’s final evacuation flight departed from Wadi Saidna airfield near Sudan’s capital Khartoum at 10pm local time on Saturday, according to the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).
In a statement posted on the government’s foreign travel advice website, the FCDO said: The final evacuation flight left the airfield at 2200 Sudanese time on 29 April. ”
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs James Cleverly said:
“We will continue to impose all diplomatic tools to secure a long-term ceasefire and end the bloodshed in Sudan. It’s the best way to protect yourself.”
Hundreds have died in a bloody conflict between the Sudanese army and the powerful Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group that erupted on April 15.
The British government announced on April 23 that British forces had evacuated a British diplomat and his family from Sudan.
The RAF took over the Wadi Saidna airfield from the Germans on 25 April and began airlifting other British nationals and their immediate family. The evacuees were flown first to Cyprus and then to England.
The operation took place amid a fragile 72-hour ceasefire between warring factions. Fighting broke out again in Khartoum after an extension of the truce was brokered on Friday.
Foreign Secretary Andrew Mitchell told the BBC that the operation had been “very successful” but stressed that “we cannot stay there forever in such a dangerous situation”.
The government is urging British nationals still in Sudan to go to Port Sudan.
A statement on the FCDO travel advice site reads: If you are a British citizen of Port Sudan and need help leaving Sudan, please visit our team who can guide you to departure options. ”
The FCDO said on Thursday that Sudan’s ambassador to the UK, Giles Lever, had been moved to neighboring Ethiopia to “lead Britain’s diplomatic efforts in the region to end the fighting in Sudan.”
Transportation Secretary Mark Harper told Sky News on Sunday:
The government initially said only British passport holders and immediate family members with UK entry permits were eligible for evacuation.
But hours before the final flight took off, the government announced it would expand eligibility criteria for evacuation to include Sudanese doctors working for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).
Abdurrahman Babikar, a Sudanese doctor working at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, told the BBC that he was initially turned down by the office on Thursday despite having a UK work permit. He was later cleared to board a flight to Cyprus and was due to travel to the UK on Saturday.
After criticism from opposition politicians, the government agreed to include an NHS doctor without a British passport on the last flight out of Sudan.
A spokesperson said:
“We are able to provide this entitlement increase thanks to the efforts of the staff and the military that made this evacuation, the largest of its kind in the West.”
“We continue to work intensively with our international partners to maintain the ceasefire and end the fighting. is the most important thing we can do to
PA Media contributed to this report.