The UK government has launched a frantic rescue effort to extract British nationals stranded in Sudan as a 72-hour ceasefire took effect on Monday evening. The hope is that the ceasefire will allow civilians to flee the violence-torn capital city of Khartoum.
RAF planes and British military personnel are set to be deployed for the operation, with priority given to families with children, the elderly, and those with medical conditions. However, anxious families fear that time is running out.
The ceasefire follows ten days of brutal violence and three previous failed attempts at ceasefires between rival factions of the army, which has led to over 400 deaths. The evacuation plan entails British forces congregating at the UK airbase in Cyprus, ready to fly to Sudan to rescue British nationals trapped in the fighting for several days. The first to be rescued are being asked to make their way to an airbase north of Khartoum before being flown to Cyprus by RAF planes. Some may also be taken to Port Sudan to board a ship to safety.
Foreign nationals have taken a different route, opting to travel by ferry across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia, with a British frigate en route in that direction. Nevertheless, the situation remains unstable, as the ceasefire is not holding everywhere, as evidenced by a recording of gunfire captured by a woman hiding under her bed. Those making their way to the airbase will have to assume the risks involved, running the gauntlet of Khartoum.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, “I am very pleased that a has been announced by the leadership of the factions on the ground and therefore we are initiating an evacuation plan. Remember that ceasefires have announced and have fallen apart in evacuation plan. It is important to the past so the situation remains dangerous, volatile.”
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