UK & World News

  • 19 December 2013, 9:47

Brits Evacuated From South Sudan Amid Fighting

Britons are being evacuated from South Sudan as fighting spreads through the state after an apparent coup at the weekend.

A plane has been sent to the state to remove more than 150 British citizens who have contacted the Foreign Office wanting to leave the country.

Embassy staff were among those being evacuated although the Foreign Office emphasised that it would be keeping open its embassy in the capital, Juba.

The United Nations has estimated that up to 500 people have been killed in fighting between rival factions following a coup attempt against President Salva Kiir by soldiers loyal to his former deputy.

Some 10 senior government ministers were arrested at the beginning of the week but fighting continues amid increasing political tensions.

South Sudan won its independent from the north in 2011 but has struggled with corruption and ethnic violence since.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that around 20,000 people have taken refuge with the UN in Juba.

The Foreign Office has advised against all travel to within 40km of South Sudan's northern border with Sudan, Jonglei State and Juba, and all but essential travel to the rest of South Sudan.

There are an estimated 500 Britons living in South Sudan.

A foreign Office spokeswoman said: "A UK aircraft is en route to Juba to evacuate British nationals who wish to leave from Juba airport on Thursday 19 December.

"If you are a British national and you wish to leave Juba you should contact the FCO as soon as possible."

British nationals seeking to leave South Sudan are urged to contact the Foreign Office in London for advice, by calling 0207 008 1500 or by emailing crisis@fco.gsi.gov.uk.

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