NHS doctor feels 'betrayed' by government as he's refused entry on Sudan evacuation flight
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An NHS who was visiting family in Sudan has said he feels 'betrayed' by the British government after being turned away from an evacuation flight.
Sudanese-born Dr Abdulrahman Babiker was celebrating Eid in his home country when conflict broke out in the African nation.
Although he is due back on shift at Manchester Royal Infirmary on Tuesday, the doctor is currently stranded as he says he was not allowed onto the evacuation flight leaving Sudan.
According to the BBC, there are at least 24 NHS doctors in this same position.
Despite having a UK work permit, Dr Babiker - who had queued for 16 hours - says he wasn't allowed onto the flight as they were only accepting UK passport holders.
The Foreign Office says it is prioritising British nationals, meaning Dr Babiker is required to find his own route back to the UK.
Speaking of his feelings of betrayal, he told the BBC: "To be honest I feel totally betrayed… I worked throughout COVID and I'm so disappointed."
Hundreds of people have been killed in the Sudanese conflict as rival factions within the country's military fight for control.
Sudan's capital Khartoum has been destroyed in some areas as a result.
The UK government had initially told British nationals to make their own way home, before arranging a series of evacuation flights.
Speaking of not being able to board, Dr Babiker said: "They said, 'we are really sorry, this is the guidance from the Home Office'. And a soldier took me out."
While being interviewed on Newsnight, Dr Nadia Baasher of the Sudanese Junior Doctor's Association said she knew of 24 doctors in a similar position to Dr Babiker.
She said that some had made the heartbreaking decision to leave their Sudanese families in order to return to work in the NHS.
"People are heartbroken by the whole situation," she said. "It's not safe. This is is very disappointing to see that they weren't treated with some consideration."
So far, the mission to rescue British nationals has prioritised the children, the sick and the elderly, with Downing Street explaining that eligibility requirements have been set out 'very clearly' and have not changed.
The Foreign Office has also pointed out other routes available, such as crossing over the border into Egypt.
So far, the British government has flown 897 people from the East African country to Cyprus.
A 72-hour ceasefire has been agreed between the rival Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces, meaning that more evacuation flights may be possible.
British military chiefs say they have the capacity to fly 500 people out a day.
A UK Government spokesperson told LADbible: "The evacuation response from Khartoum is open to all British nationals and their eligible dependents who wish to leave Sudan.
"Those who have existing entry clearance for the UK but are not the dependent of a British passport holder can still come to the UK via other points of exit, such as crossing the border into Egypt."