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UK rescue plane sent to South Sudan

A final UK plane is being sent to South Sudan to evacuate remaining Britons amid concerns that mounting violence could quickly escalate into a full-scale civil war.

Foreign Office officials have warned it could be difficult to help any UK nationals who choose to stay if the security situation in the world's youngest state deteriorates further .

Those fleeing the fighting have been told to gather by midday at the airport in the capital Juma, which is reported to be mostly peaceful.

But as the fighting spread to other parts of the newly-formed East African country, its government lost control of the main city of a key oil-producing region.

A military spokesman said Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, had fallen to rebel forces.

All but around 1% of government revenues come from oil production.

The United Nations estimated that up to 500 people have been killed in clashes between rival factions following a coup attempt by soldiers loyal to the president's former deputy.

After two evacuations using military aircraft, a jet has been chartered by the Government for the final attempt to bring people back to Britain.

A United States rescue plane was hit by incoming fire, leaving three American service personnel wounded.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the South Sudanese government to work for peace and said he remains "very concerned" about the situation.

"It is vital that all leaders urge restraint on their supporters and commit to a political resolution of their differences," he said after talks with his counterpart.

"South Sudan has a legitimate, democratically-elected government.

"Resorting to military means to further political rivalries is a betrayal of the hopes on which the new state of South Sudan was founded."

In a joint statement, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Vatican called for the nation's weak and poor to be "spared the trauma of conflict".

Any Britons in South Sudan wanting to leave on the flight should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as soon as possible on +44 207 008 1500 or by email at


From Belfast Telegraph