- By Andre Rhoden-Paul
- BBC news
Two additional evacuation flights carrying British nationals have left Sudan, as UK efforts now turn to diplomacy and humanitarian aid.
The “special” flights – billed as the UK’s last airlift from Sudan – took off from Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast on Monday evening.
It comes after military rescue flights from an airstrip, near the Sudanese capital Khartoum, ended on Saturday.
Nearly 2,200 people were evacuated on Monday afternoon.
The Office of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth & Development said it would release passenger numbers for its latest two flights on Tuesday.
British nationals and others, including NHS Sudan staff, were asked to arrive at Port Sudan at midday on Monday for “extra special” flights.
Two flights were set to land in Larnaca, Cyprus, afterwards. The State Department would not confirm the movements of the flights, but a flight tracking website showed an RAF Hercules transport plane landed in Larnaca at 22:45 local time (20:45). . An RAF Atlas transport plane will land in the next few hours.
The UK government said it was ending evacuation flights from Wadi Saeedna airport due to reduced demand for British citizens and an “increasingly volatile situation” on the ground, with the last military plane taking off. from the airport on Saturday night.
It comes as air strikes and fighting were reported over the weekend despite a ceasefire between the Sudanese army and its rival, the paramilitary Rapid Support Force.
The UK government has described the operation in Sudan as the “longest and largest airlift” of any Western country, with 2,197 people airlifted from the war-torn country into the country. at 17:30 Sudanese time on Monday.
This includes 1,087 people from other countries, including the US and Germany.
In addition, a UK team is providing consular assistance in Port Sudan, where they will help British nationals leaving by trade routes. The Royal Navy ship HMS Lancaster is supporting evacuation efforts from Sudan.
The FCDO said the situation remained unstable and “our ability to conduct an evacuation may change in the short term”.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of its staff and military, the UK has brought 2,197 people to safety from Sudan to date – the largest airlift by any Western nation. any.
“As the focus shifts to humanitarian and diplomatic efforts, we will continue to do all we can to promote a lasting ceasefire and immediate end to violence in Sudan.”
FCDO said that options for providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan in coordination with the United Nations and NGOs are being considered.
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, Khartoum, has seen the heaviest fighting, with the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Force, a powerful paramilitary group, fighting for control of the country.
The Sudanese military on Saturday said it was launching a new major offensive against RSF positions in Khartoum.
The latest truce, which has not yet been implemented, is scheduled to end at midnight Sunday. But the RSF said the ceasefire had been extended for another three days.