Brit, 85, shot by sniper and wife starved to death after being left behind in Sudan evacuation

26 May 2023, 08:28 | Updated: 26 May 2023, 08:48

The Sholgami family
The Sholgami family. Picture: Sholgami family/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A British man who had been shot by a sniper and lived yards from the embassy in Sudan was 'abandoned' by officials while his disabled wife starved to death, his family has claimed.

Abdalla Sholgami, 85, lived with his disabled wife, Alaweya Rishwan, 80, just yards from the British embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.

The area has been subject to intense fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Mr Sholgami's granddaughter said her grandparents were not offered help in leaving Sudan, despite a British military team being sent to rescue diplomatic staff yards from their home.

Speaking on Twitter, Mr Sholgami's granddaughter, Azhaar, said at the time: "My British grandfather has been stuck at home with little water & food.

"He lives right in front of the British embassy. We’ve lost contact with him 5 days ago and asked the embassy to at least pass him water. @UKinSudan has put in no effort or serious concern into the matter."

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Azhaar says what happened to her grandparents was a "crime against humanity"
Azhaar says what happened to her grandparents was a "crime against humanity". Picture: Sholagami Family

Mr Sholgami was eventually forced to leave his home to find food and water.

While he was out, he was shot three times by a sniper and was then taken to another family member in Khartoum.

He remains in a critical condition.

Read More: Fighting in Sudan has displaced more than 1.3m people, says UN

Read More: Sudan’s army chief orders banks to freeze accounts belonging to rivals

Khartoum has been subject to intense fighting in recent months
Khartoum has been subject to intense fighting in recent months. Picture: Getty

While he survived, his disabled wife was left to fend for herself. She starved to death.

Her body remains in the house, unburied, according to Azhaar.

She continued: "What happened to my grandparents was a crime against humanity not only by the RSF & SAF but by the British Embassy. My grandmother died of starvation."

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player
Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player. Picture: LBC

Their family claims the UK government has offered no support and has not spoken to them since the last evacuation flight to the UK left Sudan on May 3.

The Foreign Office told the BBC: "The ongoing military conflict means Sudan remains dangerous…the UK is taking a leading role in the diplomatic efforts to secure peace in Sudan."

They described the Sholgami family's situation was "extremely sad" but said "our ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited and we cannot provide in-person support within Sudan".

Read More: UK's Sudan evacuation flights come to an end with over 2,000 people airlifted to safety as fighting rages on

The UK ended its evacuation mission in war-torn Sudan earlier this month, with 2,197 people brought to safety.

It was the longest and largest airlift by any Western nation during the crisis, the Foreign Office said.

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