UK armed forces have completed evacuation of British diplomats from Sudan
An 85-year-old British citizen was shot by snipers and his wife starved to death in Sudan after the British embassy left them to fend for themselves, their family have claimed. Abdalla Sholgami and his disabled wife, Alaweya Rishwan, 80, lived only a few metres from the British embassy in Sudan’s capital Khartoum. Dramatic clashes between two warring generals have rattled the city since April 15.
Mr Sholgami left his home looking for help as he and his wife faced starvation and had no water, the family told BBC News Arabic.
While he was out, snipers shot Mr Sholgami three times – in his hand, chest and lower back. He was then taken in by a family member elsewhere in the capital and survived, while his wife was left alone at home.
The family reached out to the British foreign office to help the elderly woman stuck in the house.
But she was found dead by an official from the Turkish embassy a few days later. Her unburied body is still in the house.
The family claims the couple never received any support to leave Sudan, despite repeated desperate calls for help amid the British military’s evacuation of diplomatic staff.
The couple were reportedly told to head to an airfield 25 miles outside Khartoum to get an evacuation flight.
But the journey meant travelling through a bloody war zone that has already seen hundreds dead.
The civil war was sparked by a power struggle between the regular army and the Sudanese paramilitary, the Rapid Support Forces.
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The UK foreign office described the case as “extremely sad” but said, “our ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited and we cannot provide in-person support within Sudan”.
Only a few days into the violence, the family started contacting the UK embassy.
Less than a week after the family’s plea for help, the British Army and Royal Air Force evacuated the embassy.
Mr Sholgami’s granddaughter, Azhaar, said the building is a “maximum four steps away”.
She told the BBC: “I was informed they had 100 troops who came and evacuated their staff. They could not cross the road? I’m still very disappointed in them.”
The family says the British Government has not been in touch with them since May 3, the day of the last evacuation flight.
Azhaar said what happened to her grandparents was “a crime against humanity” by the British embassy, as well as the fighting forces. She said they could have prevented the incident.
The UK Foreign Office reiterated the country remains dangerous and says it is taking a leading role to bring peace to the country.
Mr Sholgami has survived and fled to Egypt, where he is receiving medical treatment for his wounds, which were operated on by his son, a doctor, without anaesthetic.
The UK Foreign Office told the BBC: “The ongoing military conflict means Sudan remains dangerous… the UK is taking a leading role in the diplomatic efforts to secure peace in Sudan.”
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