Central Southern Africa

South Sudan: we evacuate

RAF aircraft provides South Sudan evacuation
a C-17 during another international operation (credit: UK Department of Defense)

(BRUSSELS2) A British Royal Air Force C17 aircraft today evacuated 182 passengers (British, Commonwealth and EU) from Juba in South Sudan, quickly boarded and flown to Entebbe in Uganda. The flight – or rather the landing was quite eventful, as indicated in a press release from the British ministry.

Requisitioned by the Foreign Office (FCO), the military plane took off in the night (after 3 a.m. from the RAF base at Brize Norton. But on arrival, after a 9-hour flight, on the airport of the South Sudanese capital Juba, the pilot was surprised The runway was blocked by a civil airliner, a Boeing 737 stopped 2/3 of the runway, the nose gear collapsed. The C-17 was however able to. land, without damage, after a so-called “precision” landing. As the commander of the 99th Squadron, Commander Stuart Lindsell, recounted, “ We practice short formation landings. But arriving at a runway with a crashed plane taking up a large part of it really forces you to focus your mind a little more than you would normally expect. The C17 commander and his crew had one of the most difficult days of the entire squadron since it was established 12 years ago. »

Evacuation order in London and Berlin

After the violence (which, at the very least, 500 people and injured nearly 800 in Juba, including many civilians”, according to the Quai d'Orsay) and the curfew, several countries such as Germany or the United Kingdom have ordered their nationals to leave the country. A second flight has also been planned by the British. Nationals are asked to present themselves at the airport with as little luggage as possible (or even without any luggage). On the French side, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has “ recommended » to nationals – currently around sixty – “ take available flights to temporarily leave South Sudan” (some apparently took the flights of “our British friends”).

No French operation

Contacted by B2, the (French) Army General Staff denies certain information published in the press, such as planning an operation to evacuate nationals, “ having received no request to this effect from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ". And as a senior French official pointed out, passing through Brussels, “we are already busy elsewhere to also intervene in South Sudan. You do not belive it ". And add " although some issues are related. There are certain common elements in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. As there are elements of Boko Haram. »

NB: the European Union had deployed a small advisory and expertise mission to Juba airport for the airport's air security (EUAVSEC South Sudan). The decision to close this mission had already been taken before the events, for different reasons. Read : we are closing

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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