British citizen shot, wife dies of starvation after being left in Sudan

26 May 2023 06:05pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

LONDON, UK - The family of an 85-year-old man who lived just "steps away” from the British embassy in Sudan’s capital have said he was shot by snipers and his wife died of starvation after being left behind in the country, reported German news agency (dpa).

The BBC was told by the family of Abdalla Sholgami and his 80-year-old wife Alaweya Rishwan, who had a disability, that, despite asking for help days after the conflict began, they were directed to cross a warzone to board an evacuation fight in Khartoum.

The family said they contacted the British Foreign Office’s hotline and the government has done nothing to support them since the last evacuation flight left earlier this month, even after a British military team was sent to evacuate diplomatic staff.

Sholgami’s granddaughter, Azhaar, said the embassy was a "maximum four steps away” from her grandparents’ home.

"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,” she said.

The Foreign Office told BBC that the case was "extremely sad”.

"The ongoing military conflict means Sudan remains dangerous.

"The UK is taking a leading role in the diplomatic efforts to secure peace in Sudan.”

The Foreign Office said the ability to provide consular assistance is "extremely limited” and cannot provide in-person support in Sudan.

The family said, while Sholgami and his wife were faced with starvation, he was forced to leave to find help when he was shot three times by snipers.

His wife was then left on the property, which was surrounded by snipers, where she died.

Sholgami has escaped Sudan to safety in Egypt.

More than 2,300 people were evacuated by the British government from Sudan on 28 flights since fighting began in April.

The fighting between Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force has displaced more than 1.3 million people, the UN migration agency said on Wenesday.

The International Organisation for Migration said the clashes have forced more than one million people to leave their homes to safer areas inside Sudan.

About 320,000 others have fled to the neighbouring countries of Egypt, South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and Libya.

The fighting started on April 15 after months of escalating tensions between the military, led by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. - BERNAMA-dpa