UK & World News

  • 22 December 2013, 10:04

South Sudan Conflict: Last UK Airlift Mission

The UK is to charter its third and final flight to evacuate British nationals from the troubled East African state as fighting spreads.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the plane would be sent to the capital city of Juba on Monday afternoon and warned that the government would struggle to help anyone who chose to stay behind.

An FCO spokesman said: "We strongly advise all British nationals in South Sudan to leave the country if they can do so safely. You may have difficulty leaving in the event of a further deterioration in security."

It comes as US President Barack Obama said any effort in South Sudan to seize power through military force will lead America and others to cut off support.

"This conflict can only be resolved peacefully through negotiations," the White House said in a statement.

"Any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of longstanding support from the United States and the international community."

British military transport planes have been used to evacuate two groups of UK nationals over recent days.

On Saturday, a US rescue plane was hit by incoming fire leaving four American service personnel injured.

Officials said the aircraft was heading for an evacuation site in Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and the scene of some of the country's worst violence in the past week.

After being fired at it reportedly turned around and headed to Kampala in Uganda. From there the wounded service personnel were flown to Nairobi, Kenya, for medical treatment.

South Sudan blamed the attack on renegade troops.

Fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital Juba between rival army factions last weekend following a reported coup attempt against President Salva Kiir Mayardit by soldiers loyal to his former deputy.

The violence has since spread to other regions and has claimed at least 500 lives, according to the United Nations.

Kenya said on Saturday it was sending troops to South Sudan to evacuate some 1,600 citizens. Many are trapped in Bor, which has been taken by rebels.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has "ordered the KDF (Kenya Defence Force) to commence immediate evacuation of the 1,600 Kenyans stranded in South Sudan", a spokesman said in a statement.

"Despite the relative calm in Juba, a number of other South Sudan towns have come under fire," he added, saying that Kenyans "are mainly in the town of Bor".

Others, in the towns of Rumbek, Ayod, and Panyabol "will also be airlifted to safety."

"The president has also ordered the immediate delivery of food, water and medicine to South Sudan (to help) tackle the emergency," the spokesman added.

"The delivery of these emergency supplies started this morning. Kenyan military aircraft are delivering consignments to South Sudan."

Kenya, which hosted the peace talks that ended the 1983-2005 civil war in Sudan, and which paved the way for South Sudan's independence two years ago, is also supporting efforts to end the latest crisis.

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