UK plans to evacuate British diplomats from Sudan as PM chairs COBRA meeting over 'extremely concerning' situation

22 April 2023, 13:39 | Updated: 23 April 2023, 06:40

Around 400 people are believed to have been killed in the fighting
Around 400 people are believed to have been killed in the fighting. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The UK government has said it is "doing everything possible" to support British nationals currently in Sudan as fighting in the African nation rages on.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak chaired a COBRA meeting on Saturday morning amid the continued fighting, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has confirmed.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Africa minister Andrew Mitchell were also in attendance.

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A spokesperson for the government said: "We recognise that the situation is extremely concerning for British nationals trapped by the fighting in Sudan.

"We are doing everything possible to support British nationals and diplomatic staff in Khartoum, and the Ministry of Defence is working with the Foreign Office to prepare for a number of contingencies."

There were also two COBRA meetings on Friday.

Smoke rises during clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF)
Smoke rises during clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Picture: Getty

It is understood troops from the British army have previously been on standby should embassy staff and British nationals need taking from the country.

A statement by the Sudanese military said: "It is expected that the process of evacuation will begin in the coming few hours, as the United States, Britain, France and China will evacuate their diplomats and nationals by air with military transport planes belonging to their armed forces from Khartoum, and it is expected to start immediately."

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Read More: Military committed to civilian rule, Sudan’s top general says

Fighting has been raging in Khartoun, Sudan, as different military factions battle for control.

Violence has broken out between the army and the powerful paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces.

While the groups were allies and seized power in 2021, tensions have increased over the proposed integration of the forces into the Sudanese military.

Over 400 people have been killed in the fighting, the World Health Organisation has said.

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