Britain has finished evacuating terrified Britons from Sudan, with 2,197 people rescued from the war-torn country in the longest and largest airlift by any Western nation during the crisis.
The last Britons to board the final evacuation flights from the warzone are expected to land in the UK within hours after escaping the terrifying violence wreaking havoc in Sudan.
British soldiers have spent the past week helping the thousands of Britons board more than 20 flights from Wadi Saeedna airbase in Khartoum and Port Sudan, 500 miles south of the capital.
A total of 2,197 Britons – many of them young children – have now been evacuated after somehow surviving the nightmarish journey through the violent streets of Sudan to reach the airbases.
And with the final two flights leaving Port Sudan yesterday, the UK’s focus will now turn to the diplomatic and humanitarian response to the bloody conflict caused by a violent rivalry between two generals, officials said.
Britain has finished evacuating terrified Britons from Sudan, with 2,197 people rescued from the war-torn country in the longest and largest airlift by any Western nation during the crisis. Pictured: A family board an RAF plane from Wadi Saeedna airbase in Khartoum on Saturday
Pictured: Military personnel and the last evacuees boarding a RAF aircraft bound for Cyprus, during the final days of evacuations, at Wadi Seidna Air Base, in Sudan, on Saturday
In touching scenes, an army medic entertained a baby by raising them in the air at Wadi Saeedna airbase in Khartoum
Pictured: Smoke rises above buildings after aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, on Monday
While the government said it expected no more flights following the bank holiday airlifts, Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster will remain in the Red Sea to support any further evacuation efforts from Sudan.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: ‘With thanks to the extraordinary efforts of staff and military, the UK has brought 2,197 people to safety from Sudan so far – the largest airlift by any Western nation.
‘As the focus turns to humanitarian and diplomatic efforts, we will continue to do all we can to press for a long-term ceasefire and an immediate end to the violence in Sudan.’
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘Yet again the men and women of our armed forces have led the way.
‘In one week, the RAF have flown more than 20 flights, deployed over a thousand personnel, evacuated over 2,000 civilians and helped citizens from more than 20 countries to get home.
‘HMS Lancaster will remain at Port Sudan and her crew will continue to help provide support.’
In addition to British nationals, the UK helped evacuate 1,087 people from other nations, including the US, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany and Australia.
Following the final RAF repatriation flights, the Foreign Office said a UK team will continue to be based at Port Sudan to provide consular assistance, including to British nationals leaving by commercial routes.
The government’s response to the crisis was criticised last week after officials focused the evacuation efforts on rescuing diplomats and their families rather than civilians as well.
One soldier from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment cuddled a toddler before the final flight from Wadi Saeedna airbase in Khartoum on Saturday
Pictured: Military personnel boarding a RAF aircraft bound for Cyprus, during the final days of evacuations, at Wadi Seidna Air Base, in Sudan
Soldier from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment is pictured smiling with Sudanese locals
A British soldier sticks her tongue out at a young boy being carried by his mother before the family boarded the final British flight from Khartoum
Britons have described seeing thieves and killers roaming the streets of the capital, with the corpses of civilians killed in the fighting between warring factions littering the ground in scenes that have been compared to the horror film The Purge.
There are fears that some Britons were not able to reach the final evacuation flights because of how dangerous it is to travel in the country.
For those left behind in Sudan, they face an uncertain future.
Fierce fighting between rival generals raged on in the country on Tuesday despite the latest truce, as warnings multiplied of the potential for a ‘catastrophic’ humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Bloodshed has gripped Sudan since April 15 when tensions erupted into armed exchanges between regular army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy turned rival, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
Hundreds have been killed and thousands wounded as air strikes and artillery exchanges have gripped swathes of greater Khartoum sparking the exodus of thousands of Sudanese to neighbouring countries.
Many more cannot afford the arduous journey to Sudan’s borders, and have been forced to hole up inside the city of five million people with dwindling supplies of food, water and electricity.
‘We are hearing some sporadic gunfire, the roaring of a warplane and the anti-aircraft fire at it,’ said one resident of south Khartoum.
The last evacuees and military personnel board an RAF aircraft bound for Cyprus from Wadi Seidna Air Base in Sudan on Saturday
Pictured: British Citizens from Sudan waiting at Wadi Seidna airport in Khartoum, Sudan ahead of boarding an RAF aircrafts bound for Cyprus on Saturday
In a Monday briefing, the top UN aid official in Sudan, Abdou Dieng, warned that the situation was turning into ‘a full-blown catastrophe’.
Kenyan President William Ruto said the conflict had reached ‘catastrophic levels’ with the warring generals declining ‘to heed the calls by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and the international community to cease fire.’
In a virtual meeting with senior UN officials, Ruto said it was imperative to find ways to provide humanitarian relief ‘with or without a ceasefire’.
Burhan and Daglo, who fell out after carrying out a 2021 military coup which derailed Sudan’s transition to elective civilian rule, have flouted multiple ceasefires, the latest a 72-hour extension agreed late on Sunday.