1 of 2 | Britons fleeing the fighting in Sudan board one of the last British evacuation flights out of Khartoum overnight Saturday. London said Monday that it had shifted the focus of its evacuation operation 500 miles east to the coastal city of Port Sudan. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Defense
May 1 (UPI) -- Britain will mount a final evacuation flight from Port Sudan on the Red Sea on Monday two days after ending its airlift from Khartoum amid a deteriorating security situation in the capital as a fragile cease-fire between factions of the military government fizzled out.
British nationals who wish to leave on the flight need to make their way to the British Evacuation Handling Center at the Coral Hotel in downtown Port Sudan before noon Sudan time to allow for processing, the Foreign Office said in a news release.
Foreign Office and Border Force staff are on the ground in the city backed up by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster, which is standing by in the Red Sea off Port Sudan.
Airstrikes and fighting have been reported over the weekend between the Sudan Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces, headed by two generals engaged in a struggle for control of the country.
"The situation remains volatile and our ability to conduct evacuations could change at short notice," the Foreign Office warned amid reports of chaos in Port Sudan as thousands of people scramble to try to escape.
Following criticism that some Sudanese doctors and other medical personnel employed by Britain's National Health Service were denied boarding in Khartoum, evacuation criteria were expanded Saturday to include non-British nationals working for the NHS, and their dependants, who have residency or permission to enter Britain.
The Foreign Office said the additional flight would permit the evacuation of a "limited number of U.K. nationals remaining in Sudan who wish to leave," over and above the 2,122 people the Royal Air Force airlifted from the Wadi Saeeda airfield north of Khartoum.
"The U.K. has now airlifted over 2,100 people to safety from Sudan, in what has been the largest and longest evacuation of any Western country," said Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
"We continue to do everything in our power to secure a long-term ceasefire, a stable transition to civilian rule and an end the violence in Sudan."
The last evacuation flight departed Khartoum bound for Cyprus on Saturday at 10:00 p.m. Sudan time. Evacuees were flown then onward to Britain on civilian charter flights.
The Foreign Office said Britain was pursuing all diplomatic avenues to end the violence and return to civilian rule, with the prime minister, foreign secretary, defense secretary and minister for Africa all talking with international partners.
"Ultimately a stable transition to civilian rule is the best way to protect the security and prosperity of the Sudanese people," it said.
Sudan received its first shipment of humanitarian aid Sunday, the first since the start of fighting on April 15, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.