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Home ยป Revealed: How Elite Team Of British Troops Evacuated UK Diplomats From Sudan’s Warzone Capital

Revealed: How Elite Team Of British Troops Evacuated UK Diplomats From Sudan’s Warzone Capital

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The covert mission to evacuate British diplomats and their families from Sudan’s warzone capital began under the cover of darkness.

A team of elite British troops flew into Khartoum late on Saturday night on board an American military aircraft that was part of a separate but coordinated US evacuation mission.

Upon landing, the British soldiers left their American counterparts, acquired a number of local vehicles and drove across the city towards where the UK embassy is located.

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The British mission and its diplomats are in an area of Khartoum that sits between Sudan’s two warring factions, making their extraction particularly perilous.

During the day on Saturday, those who were due to be rescued had gathered themselves together.

It was thought to be around two dozen British diplomats plus family members as well as a handful of officials from other nations that Britain had offered to help.

The troops met with the evacuation party of around 30 people, including children, and prepared for the extraction.

They had to assess the situation on the ground – the scene of deadly fighting for the past week and a half – and work out if it was safe enough to bring them out without more back-up.

In tandem with this first leg of the mission, two Royal Air Force transport planes – a C-130 Hercules and an A400M Airbus – had taken off from RAF Akrotiri, a sprawling British military base in Cyprus.

The aircraft, operating in coordination with the French and US armed forces and with permission from the Sudanese military, landed on a Sudanese airfield called Wadi Seidna which is about 30km north of Khartoum, at around 1am on Sunday morning, UK time.

This was about an hour and a half after the US aircraft – carrying the initial team of elite British soldiers – had landed in Khartoum.

The potentially most hazardous stage in the UK rescue mission came next.

The elite team of British soldiers with the diplomats had to travel from their assembly point in Khartoum to the airfield – a journey of about 30km (18 miles), through multiple checkpoints.

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Here’s what’s happening on the ground

If heavy fighting was taking place, UK defence planners had been ready to send in more aircraft and troops, with the ability to “punch through” the checkpoints and reach the diplomats.

In that event, the soldiers with them would have been tasked with protecting the diplomats from the fighting until help came, rather than driving them out.

In the event, however, a window opened of relative calm to allow the soldiers on the ground to drive their passengers to the airfield.

A unit of troops from the two aircraft, which brought in vehicles as well for the operation, also mobilised and moved towards the incoming rescue team in case needed.

It was not immediately clear if the British troops encountered any gunfire or shelling.

Once at the airfield, the diplomats and families boarded the aircraft and the two British planes took off at around 9am, UK time, and headed back to Cyprus.

It is thought the aircraft had been on the ground for about seven to eight hours.

British nationals, or those with UK passports, can tell the government if they are trapped in Sudan by using this form.