UK Development Minister, Andrew Mitchell, has cautioned British citizens in Sudan that the government cannot guarantee the possibility of evacuating them amidst the existing conditions. Mitchell has disclosed that approximately 2,000 Britons in Sudan have formally contacted the UK Foreign Office to seek support.
He added that the UK is “exploring every single possible way of getting them out,” but warned: “I simply cannot give any assurances and (it) wouldn’t be responsible to do so.”
Foreign nationals across Sudan have been forced to take shelter after fighting broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces, led by the country’s military ruler Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by his former ally Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
The UK has faced criticism from its media, politicians and citizens still in Sudan after prioritizing the evacuation of British diplomatic staff and their families from the capital Khartoum in an overnight military operation at the weekend involving more than 1,000 personnel.
Mitchell said the diplomats had been prioritized for extraction over “a very specific threat to the diplomatic community” in Sudan, adding that “we have a specific duty of care, a legal duty of care, to our own staff and our diplomats.”
He said the UK’s ability to extract other citizens from Sudan would remain limited until fighting abated.
“The situation is absolutely desperate and a ceasefire is required,” he added. “The only advice that Britain can give to people is to stay indoors because that is the safe option.
“Many of the Brits there are very creative and know the situation on the ground, and if — at their own risk — they determine there is a way for them to leave their own homes then of course they will take it.”