Central Southern Africa

Transall + European C130s mobilized in South Sudan. Last call from London (Maj4)

On the map released by the Foreign Office, everything is in red (UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
On the map released by the Foreign office, the whole country is in red (UK Ministry for Foreign Affairs)

(BRUSSELS2) After the British and the Americans, we learn that German and Italian planes as well as Dutch carried out the evacuation of several dozen nationals and Europeans from South Sudan, in the grip of a violent and generalized internal armed conflict, a real internal war.

Several German Transall rotations

On the morning of Saturday (December 21), a first Transall C-160 aircraft landed, with more than 55 Germans and other nationals, in Entebbe (Uganda). Throughout the day, several flights were operated. Another 98 people were evacuated. In the afternoon, the plane repatriated 43 people of different nationalities to Entebbe as well as the German ambassador in Juba.

Normally assigned to MINUSMA, and stationed in Dakar, Senegal, the aircraft “ will resume its normal mission “As soon as the operations are completed, we specify to the Bundeswehr. Friday evening, a Bombardier BD-700 Global 5000 aircraft had already repatriated the head of the Joint Operations Command, General Hans-Werner Fritz, his companions and five other German citizens to Berlin.

Operation Ippocampo for the Italians

(UPDATE) Italy also carried out an operation called “Ippocampo” to evacuate European nationals. Italian soldiers as well as Italian officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carried out the operation. An Italian C-130 aircraft of the “46th Air Brigade” of Pisa first evacuated them from the capital, Juba, to the airport of Djibouti, to the base of the Italian Armed Forces (nearing completion). From there, an Air Force KC-767 plane repatriated them on Friday (December 20) to Rome's Ciampino military airport. In all, 63 different nationals (including 34 Italians) were able to return to the continent.

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the Germans and Italians who made it possible to repatriate 5 Poles (3 by the German Transall, 2 by the Italian C-130) indicating that 9 nationals still remained in South Sudan.

A Dutch KDC 10 mobilized

A C-130 and a KDC-10 from the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Dutch Air Force) were also mobilized. The C-130 landed at Juba airport on Saturday morning to evacuate nationals to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. An Air Force security team was on board to ensure everyone was safe. From there, they were repatriated by a KDC-10 “Jan Scheffer” to Eindhoven where it landed during the night from Saturday to Sunday. On board, 40 Dutch people and 16 people of other nationalities. “ I am very relieved that everything was going so well and these people must leave the country safely », declared Deputy Ambassador Paul Tholen, after setting foot on Dutch soil. One of the evacuees, Peter Buikema, testified to the difficulty on site: “The situation was not very good. In the region where I was, there was a lot of fighting, so we had to take refuge in the UN compound.”. But even then everything wasn't perfect. “There was even mortar fire inside. (…) I am relieved to be back safely ».

The Dutch C-130 at Juba airport for an evacuation operation. (Dutch military)
The Dutch C-130 at Juba airport for an evacuation operation (Credit: Dutch army)

Last call from the British

As for the Foreign Office, it launched a last and last appeal to its fellow citizens advising them “ strongly to leave the country immediately. « You may have difficulty staying if there is a further deterioration in security ». A third and last flight » will be organized on the afternoon of Monday (December 23) from Juba to Dubai. Meet at the airport before 12 p.m., if possible without luggage. « This will be the last flight planned by the Foreign Office to help British nationals leave South Sudan” warn Her Majesty's diplomats. « You should be aware that it will be difficult for the UK government to provide consular assistance should the security situation deteriorate further. ». Last call!

Note that a Turkish C-130 plane was also mobilized, repatriating 21 citizens from Juba airport on December 27.

(UPDATE) article modified Sun Dec 22 at 11:00 a.m. and 12:23 p.m. with Italian, Polish and British news and Mon. Dec. XNUMX with the Netherlands – Turkish information added at the beginning of January

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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