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Sudan ceasefire still in force as evacuation continues

Hundreds of thousands of people including Western European citizens are fleeing Sudan amid internal fighting. Britain, which has already flown more than 530 people out of the war-torn country, urged its citizens to immediately seek British flights out of the country while the ceasefire is still in force.

Britain began evacuating its citizens on Tuesday, following other governments in pulling people out of the North African country where clashes between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have killed hundreds and stranded foreigners.

Britons are being airlifted by Britain’s Royal Air Force to Cyprus, before being flown on to London.

Britain’s Foreign Office said on Twitter that 536 people had been evacuated. Earlier Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government hoped to complete eight evacuation flights by Wednesday.

Sudan update:

536 people have now been evacuated from Sudan on 6 UK flights as of 9pm tonight.

— Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (@FCDOGovUK) April 26, 2023

Run before it’s too late

Britain said that it may not be able to continue evacuating its nationals in Sudan when the ceasefire ends later on Thursday, and they should try to reach British flights out of the country immediately, foreign minister James Cleverly said.

“Now is the time to move because when the ceasefire ends, my ability to give the kind of limited assurance I can give now might go and we might not be able to evacuate,” Cleverly told Sky News television.

France also evacuating

On Thursday France reported that it had evacuated not only French nationals but also Britons, Americans, Canadians, Ethiopians, Dutch, Italians, and Swedes, as part of a wider exodus of expatriates.

Hundreds of thousands may flee Sudan fighting: UN refugee agency

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Foreigners evacuated from Khartoum have described bodies littering streets, buildings on fire, residential areas turned into battlefields, and youths roaming the streets with large knives.

On Tuesday UNHCR officials told a Geneva briefing they are poised for 270,000 people to flee over Sudan’s borders, a preliminary planning figure that includes Sudanese refugees crossing into South Sudan and Chad as well as South Sudanese returning home.

Sudan war

Tension had been building for months between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which together toppled a civilian government in an October 2021 coup.

The friction was brought to a head by an internationally-backed plan to launch a new transition toward elections and a government led by civilian parties.

A final deal was due to be signed earlier in April, on the fourth anniversary of the overthrow of long-ruling Islamist autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising.

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