Reports have emerged that a team of British troops has been sent on a reconnaissance mission to a port in eastern Sudan for potential evacuation operations. The soldiers landed in Port Sudan on Monday, but this does not necessarily mean that any rescue is imminent. Rather, the UK government is assessing different options to present to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to aid the thousands of British nationals currently under threat in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Potential Evacuation Methods
One possible evacuation method is the use of a British warship, HMS Lancaster, which is already in or near the region. Alternatively, more airlifts could be conducted using the Royal Air Force flights from a British airbase in Cyprus to a Sudanese military airfield outside the capital. This was the method used to rescue British diplomats and their families over the past weekend. However, any decision to order new evacuations will depend on the level of risk that the government is willing to take.
The Number of Citizens in Sudan
It is believed that there are around 4,000 British passport holders currently in Sudan, and the UK may request assistance from allies to aid its citizens. The US and France have a greater military presence in the area. James Heappey, the armed forces minister, has stated that the military is developing a range of options to present to the prime minister as pressure mounts on the government to act.
The Government’s Response
The British forces successfully extracted all British diplomats and their families from Khartoum during a raid over the past weekend. However, Heappey stated that the job is not yet done, and work is continuing to present the prime minister with options for how to support the wider community of British nationals in Sudan. The government is moving quickly to develop these options, and the prime minister will have the opportunity to choose from them as they arise.
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