Britons flee turmoil in Tunisia

Britons flee turmoil in Tunisia

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Hilary Carrington-Hobson (centre) greets her mother Betty Carrington and father Ian Carrington as they arrive back to Manchester Airport

The evacuation of Britons from chaos-hit Tunisia has continued on Sunday as hundreds more flew home.

More than 3,000 holidaymakers and ex-pats have left the north African country in the last 48 hours on emergency flights.

But the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said there remained between 1,000 and 1,500 ex-pats, independent travellers and small tour group holidaymakers remain in the country.

The FCO released the figures after sending over a team of civil servants to help search for British nationals and clarify precisely how many were left. It is thought there are around 1,000 ex-pats living in the country.

A ‘Rapid Deployment Force’ of consular staff on Saturday night rounded up remaining Brits by phoning hotels and going out searching, said an FCO spokesman.

Sunday saw more flights returning from Tunisia the day after a new president was sworn in following days of killings and violent looting. On Saturday Thomson First Choice flew almost 1,500 passengers home on seven flights and Thomas Cook returned 300 people after evacuating 1,500 on Friday.

The flights continued on Sunday with 116 Saga customers returning to Britain, Thomas Cook flying back more than 100 and Thomson First Choice getting about 60 passengers back. It is thought the only Britons left now are ex-pats and a small number of independent travellers.

The Foreign Office advised British nationals “to leave Tunisia unless they have a pressing need to remain”.

Returning Britons told of their fear at being caught up in the civil unrest. After cutting short their holidays, some compared the scenes on the streets of the North African country to a war zone.

Security manager Adam Wallace, 22, said: “When we went to the airport it was a bit unnerving. There were police stood on the corners of roads and groups of people hanging about. It did feel a bit intimidating.”

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