SNP suggest British nationals in Sudan ‘abandoned without a plan’ as war rages

The SNP have warned British nationals have been “abandoned without a plan” as the conflict continues in Sudan.

One estimate said up to 4,000 UK citizens could be stranded in the war-torn African nation amid deadly street fighting and a shortage of food, water and electricity. Some said they felt “abandoned” after diplomats were rescued in a night-time evacuation mission and were organising dangerous private evacuations.

Now the SNP's foreign affairs spokesperson Drew Hendry has suggested lessons have not been learnt from Afghanistan, and called for a coherent strategy to save those stuck in the country.

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He told The Scotsman: "The escalating situation in Sudan is deeply concerning and terrifying for all those involved.

Violence in Sudan between two opposing forces has seen deadly shooting and shelling in the capital city of Khartoum.Violence in Sudan between two opposing forces has seen deadly shooting and shelling in the capital city of Khartoum.
Violence in Sudan between two opposing forces has seen deadly shooting and shelling in the capital city of Khartoum.

"Whilst there are clear difficulties in organising a safe evacuation, there has been little registration done for UK nationals left behind and a strong feeling now persists that they have been abandoned without a plan. There is an unfortunate pattern of sluggish and ineffective reaction from the UK Government when it comes to setting out plans to help those in need.

"One would have hoped that lessons had been learned, but the early signs are not encouraging. It is vital that the UK Government now sets out a clear plan of action to help UK nationals seeking safety and repatriation".

British nationals trapped in Sudan are being advised to stay indoors and await further information, with Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell insisting the Government is doing “everything we can” to get them out.

Mr Mitchell defended the prioritisation of embassy staff, saying there had been “a very specific threat to the diplomatic community” in the capital Khartoum.

He told the Today programme: “The situation is absolutely desperate and a ceasefire is what is required. And the only advice that Britain can give to people is to stay indoors because that is the safe option.”

He could not say when British nationals would be able to leave, but insisted “every single option is being explored in detail”.

The explosion of violence comes after two generals fell out over a recent internationally brokered deal with democracy activists which was meant to incorporate the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into the military and eventually lead to civilian rule.

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It comes as Alicia Kearns, the Tory chairwoman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, urged for action now with there being “no imminent sign of a ceasefire”. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I suspect that we are well over a thousand who wish to be evacuated. Sometimes these are large families. I suspect we could be looking at 3,000, 4,000 plus.”

Ms Kearns said Britons in Sudan would be in “abject fear”, with reports of some people killing their pets “because they’re worried they’re going to starve”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed on Sunday there had been a “complex and rapid” evacuation of British diplomats and their families from Khartoum, a city gripped by an internal battle for control between rival generals.

More than 400 people have died and thousands hurt in a bloody conflict between the Sudanese army and a powerful paramilitary group known as the RSF.



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