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[News] Evacuation from Sudan. The big ignition delay of the British

(B2) Surprisingly, the United Kingdom, although well versed in Sudan, a former colony, was absent in the first days. Evacuations only began on April 25.

Last RAF flight a C130J departs from Port Sudan (Photo: Royal Air Force)

Le government of Rishi Sunak (Conservative) initially ordered the evacuation of only his embassy staff (diplomats and other “officials”). Operation carried out on Sunday (April 23).

The head of British diplomacy, James Cleverly, justified this absence by the ability " very limited » to evacuate other British nationals in a war environment. An excuse, rather inaudible in the United Kingdom (1). Everyone could observe that other allies, notably the members of the EU, were carrying out rotation after rotation. Others had chosen the road route, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt or India, ensuring the safety of citizens.

The height of irony is that it was ultimately the Europeans (from the EU) who began by evacuating British nationals.

An operation triggered with delay

Under fire from critics, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ended up retreating and announcing on Tuesday (April 25) " a large-scale evacuation of British passport holders from Sudan by the RAF (Royal Air Force). Priority given “to the most vulnerable, families with children and the elderly ". This " 2 phase » of the evacuation operation started the same day.

The British military should not operate in the same way as the French. They will not go to town to look for their nationals. THE foreign office thus asked its nationals to reach the airport “ as soon as possible " and " on their own ».

British flights will operate from the same airport as that used by Europeans: Wadi Saeedna, located north of Khartoum. It was the French who ensured the opening of the airport, relayed by the Germans. They handed over the “keys” to the airport to the British.

Nearly 30 flights in all

A first flight of an RAF A400M repatriated 38 nationals to Cyprus. It will be followed by several others. There are in fact around 4000 Britons in Sudan, around 2000 of whom have requested evacuation, according to the with the BBC. No. 130 Squadron's last C47 flight departed on the night of May 3-4 from Port Sudan bound for Cyprus serving as a hub for British repatriations. In all, 2450 people were evacuated on 30 flights from either Wadi Saeedna or Port Sudan, the british ministry of the defense.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

  1. NB: The Anglo-Saxon doctrine in the event of a crisis differs significantly from the European doctrine. It is not the government which ensures the evacuation of its fellow citizens but the private sector.

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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