Sudan evacuation: ‘It’s a bloodbath in there’- granddaughter shares desperate plea for grandparents safety

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Abdalla Sholgami, 85, a retired businessman from north London, and his wife Alaweya Rishwan, 75, are currently trapped in their home opposite the British embassy in central Khartoum.

Azhar Sholgami is unable to eat, she’s unable to sleep with worry.

It’s been nine days since she last heard from her grandparents, who are currently stuck in Sudan, where intense fighting between rival military forces has been raging for over a week.

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Abdalla Sholgami, 85, a retired businessman from north London, and his wife Alaweya Rishwan, 75, are trapped in their home opposite the British embassy in central Khartoum.

Azhar, a research student at Cornell University, says the couple have run out of water and food and her family is worried sick.

Abdalla Sholgami, 85, (right) a retired businessman from north London, and his wife Alaweya Rishwan, 75,  (left) are trapped in their home opposite the British embassy in central Khartoum.Abdalla Sholgami, 85, (right) a retired businessman from north London, and his wife Alaweya Rishwan, 75,  (left) are trapped in their home opposite the British embassy in central Khartoum.
Abdalla Sholgami, 85, (right) a retired businessman from north London, and his wife Alaweya Rishwan, 75, (left) are trapped in their home opposite the British embassy in central Khartoum. | Credit: Supplied

“We’re just contemplating are they okay, are they alive, do they need any health support,” she told LondonWorld over a video call from New York.

“We had a nurse with them who escaped in the first day or two and the moment she got back home she called us, she said they don’t even have a drop of water for medication.

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“We don’t know if an air strike has hit their house, there’s snipers all over their area.

“It’s been an awful experience.”

The UK has started evacuating British nationals from Sudan after a three-day ceasefire was agreed and so far 200 to 300 people have been evacuated safely.

However people have been told to make their own way to the airfield near Khartoum, a very dangerous journey for Azhar’s grandparents to take.

Azhar’s parents, who are also in Khartoum tried to reach their house but gave up on Monday as their car was shot by several snipers.

Azhar Sholgami spoke to LondonWorld from New YorkAzhar Sholgami spoke to LondonWorld from New York
Azhar Sholgami spoke to LondonWorld from New York | Credit: LW

“No one has been able to enter that area,” she explained.

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“The main attacks are at the airport and the military HQ and they live right next to that.

“They’re in the number one red zone in Khartoum.

“The nurse that left my grandparents house said while she was leaving she was running with her bag and phone.

“She dropped her bag and phone and couldn’t even pick them up as it was a bloodbath.

“She could smell and see dead bodies that had been on the road for days.”

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Azhar said the only way her grandparents can be resuced is through an official insitution like the Red Cross or an NGO.

“Two days ago the British embassy managed to evacuate its staff which was disappointing because they could have just passed by,” she said.

“We weren’t even asking for an evacuation at that time, we were asking for water and food.”

Smoke billows over Sudan's capital Khartoum. Credit: GettySmoke billows over Sudan's capital Khartoum. Credit: Getty
Smoke billows over Sudan's capital Khartoum. Credit: Getty | Getty

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the next 24 hours is "critical" and pledged many more flights would be landing to rescue Britons.

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But Azhar says the response from the UK government has been too late.

Her other British friends are on their way to Egypt as they stopped waiting for the British embassy.

“They reached out endlessly but they realised that waiting any longer would put their lives at risk.

“Countries like Egypt got their citizens out on the second day.

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“My aunt is German, the German embassy drove all the way to her house and got her out ASAP.

“You’d expect more from the British government.

“Every hour counts, my friends realise that staying any longer puts their lives at risk.

“By waiting a few more days you’re going to have more casualties to British citizens.

“It’s a bloodbath in there.”

Closed shops are pictured in the south of Khartoum on April 24Closed shops are pictured in the south of Khartoum on April 24
Closed shops are pictured in the south of Khartoum on April 24 | AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Sunak defended the UK government’s approach to getting British citizens out of Sudan, following criticism that the Foreign Office was failing those stuck in Khartoum.

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"The security situation on the ground in Sudan is complicated, it is volatile and we wanted to make sure we could put in place processes that are going to work for people, that are going to be safe and effective." Mr Sunak said.

A foreign office spokesperson said: “Our evacuation of British nationals has already brought more than 200 people to safety.

“British nationals in Sudan continue to be our utmost priority and we urge everyone to continue to follow our travel advice.

“The situation remains volatile and our ability to conduct evacuations could change at short notice.”

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