Sudan: Elderly British man shot while looking for help as wife dies of starvation

Sudan: Elderly British man shot while looking for help as wife dies of starvation
3 min read
26 May, 2023
Abdalla Sholgami was shot three times while out looking for food and water for his family, while his disabled wife died of starvation after being left in the country. 
At least 863 people have died in the fighting in Sudan [Getty]

In a tragic incident, an 85-year-old British man was shot and injured in Sudan while his wife died of starvation after being left behind in the country. 

Abdalla Sholgami and his disabled wife Alaweya Rishwan lived close to the UK’s embassy in Khartoum, according to the BBC.

Out of food and water, the elderly couple was told by British authorities to make their way to an airfield 40 kilometres (24.8 miles) outside of Khartoum - which meant crossing a warzone. 

Sholgami was forced to leave his wife to find help and was shot three times on his journey. He was eventually rescued and made it to Egypt, where he received medical treatment from his son, who is a doctor. 

His wife, living in a house with no water and surrounded by snipers, eventually died of starvation, according to the family. 

The UK’s foreign office said the case was "extremely sad", according to the BBC, but added that "our ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited and we cannot provide in-person support within Sudan".

British diplomatic staff and their families were given assistance to leave Sudan, but all other citizens were left more or less on their own. 

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Sholgami’s granddaughter Azhaar, a native of Khartoum, said the British embassy was a "maximum four steps away" from their home. 

"What happened to my grandparents was a crime against humanity, not only by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), not only by the [Sudanese army], but by the British embassy, because they were the only ones that could have prevented this from happening to my grandparents," she said as quoted by The Guardian

The fighting in Sudan began last month and shows no signs of stopping, despite repeated attempts at a ceasefire. Foreign nationals, including those at diplomatic missions, have been repeatedly caught in the crossfire. 

On Thursday, Libya’s internationally recognized government condemned an attack on the Libyan Military Attache building in Khartoum. 

The government called it a "criminal act" which it said damaged relations between the two countries, but noted that all the staff had been evacuated from the building and that the attack only caused material damage. 

Sudan's fighting stems from a rivalry between army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo ‘Hemedti’, the chief of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. At least 863 people have died in the fighting so far, while several international attempts to reach a ceasefire have failed. 

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