Op Phillis Nov 2004

In light of the volatile and violent situation in Cote d'Ivoire in early November 2004, the UK deployed a small military team to review contingency plans, liaise with the French military authorities regarding the safety of , and offer expert advice to the British Ambassador in Abidjan. The Ministry of Defence also put in hand some precautionary preparatory work against the possible need for an evacuation operation, and placed troops on standby in the UK

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The evacuation operation commenced early on 12 November, RAF Hercules aircraft flying into Cote d'Ivoire to begin ferrying UK nationals and other evacuees to Accra, where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ghanaian authorities took care of their reception and onward movement. Soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles provided assistance to the Consular staff on the ground in Cote d'Ivoire. The evacuation by British forces was completed to the satisfaction of the British Ambassador at 1100 on 13 November, with all those UK nationals who wished to leave Cote d'Ivoire having been flown to safety in Ghana, along with the Embassy staff. In total, the three RAF Hercules aircraft brought out 220 evacuees, including some nationals of other countries at their governments' request. The British forces began returning to the UK from the operating base in Accra on 13 November, having received outstanding support and cooperation from the French and Ghanaian authorities.

 

Mr Gordon Wetherell, the British High Commissioner, Accra, Ghana praised both the UK military operation and the support from the Ghanaian Government: "We are very grateful for all the hard work, efficiency and co-operation of the British military deployed here and I would like to play tribute to the co-operation of the Ghanaian authorities...they have been unstinting in their cooperation and their readiness to make facilities available to us, and without that what we have managed to do would not have been possible".

 

The overall duration of the operation, from the call forward of evacuation assets from the United Kingdom to the last aircraft departing from Abidjan, was only fifty hours.

Text and pictures MoD