Sudan British Embassy Abandons Elderly Couple

Friday, May 26, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags:

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

KHARTOUM (Worthy News) – An 85-year-old British citizen in Sudan was shot by snipers, and his wife then died of starvation after the British embassy in Sudan abandoned them, Britain’s BBC broadcaster reported Friday.

The family told the BBC News Arabic service that Abdalla Sholgami lived with his 80-year-old disabled wife, Alaweya Rishwan, just over the road from Britain’s diplomatic mission in Khartoum, the capital.

But despite repeated calls for help, the London hotel owner was never offered support to leave Sudan, even when a British military team was sent to evacuate diplomatic staff.

Instead, the elderly couple was told to go to an airfield 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside Khartoum – which would have meant crossing a warzone – to board an evacuation flight.

Faced with starvation and no water, Sholgami was forced to leave his wife to find help.

While he was out, he was shot three times – in his hand, chest, and lower back – by snipers, his family explained. With no hospitals working where he was, Sholgami was then taken to a family member in another part of Khartoum and survived.

But his wife was now left to fend for herself, and no family could reach her in an area surrounded by snipers.


The family continued to contact Britain’s foreign office’s hotline to help Alaweya Rishwan. But she was stuck in the house without any help and was found dead by an official from the Turkish embassy a few days later, the BBC reported. Her body remains in the house, unburied.

Britain’s foreign office acknowledged that the Sholgamis’ case was “extremely sad” but added that “our ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited, and we cannot provide in-person support within Sudan.”

However, Britain’s embassy is a “maximum four steps away,” noted Sholgami’s granddaughter, Azhaar, who grew up in Khartoum. “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.”

Khartoum’s diplomatic area has seen intense fighting since the conflict broke out on April 15. The violence was triggered by a power struggle between former allies – the leaders of the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Several Christians and churches have also been attacked, with thousands forced to flee, church officials and aid workers say.

As for Sholgami, he has now managed to escape to Egypt, where he receives medical treatment after his wounds were operated on in Khartoum by his son, a doctor, without an aesthetic.

Only a handful of Khartoum’s 88 hospitals remain open after weeks of fighting, according to Sudan’s Doctors Union.

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