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Sudan update – 26th April

Shortly after the Gazette published the story about nine British Council staff trapped in the Council’s Khartoum headquarters the BC press office contacted us with the news the staff had been evacuated the previous night Thursday, 20th April, and had returned to their homes. “We are relieved to share that all colleagues who were in our office have been evacuated and are now home. The safety and security of our colleagues is always our highest priority.”

However, that is not the end of the story.  On the 22nd April the British troops evacuated all Embassy staff from the country but made no attempt to rescue other British nationals who had been told to stay at home and wait for instructions. Many took to calling the British Press, including an irate teacher known only as William who called the BBC this morning (the 24th) to say he was on a bus to Egypt with his family. The Gazette has no reason to believe William worked for the British Council, or was even an EFL teacher rather than, say, working for one of half a dozen international schools in the Sudanese capital.  We hope he and his family have made it out safely.


As of this morning, 26th April, flights from Sudan have started to arrive in Cyprus. However, some citizens are still awaiting communication from the Foreign Office, including Scottish teacher Jennifer McLellan.

According to the BBC, a 72-hour ceasefire has been in place since midnight of Tuesday the 25th, Sudanese time. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said families with children – like Jennifer’s – are being prioritised on RAF flights to Cyprus. However, Jennifer’s uncle in Scotland has confirmed they have a back-up plan, and they are not the only citizens to take escape into their own hands after poor communication from the Foreign Office. As of writing, it is unclear if Jennifer and her family have managed a safe evacuation.

Image courtesy of 65865995
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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