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Thomas Cook to fly nine extra flights back from Gambia

Tourists at Banjul airport in The Gambia. Credit: AP

Thomas Cook will operate nine extra flights to bring British tourists home from The Gambia over the next two days.

Around 1,000 sun seekers on Thomas Cook packages were ordered to pack their bags and head for the airport on Tuesday after the Foreign Office issued a travel alert.

A Thomas Cook spokesman said around 3,500 people will have been brought home by Friday.

"Over the next two days we will be operating nine extra flights from Banjul airport, in addition to two scheduled flights, to bring home our remaining UK customers," the spokesman said.

"To help our customers with check-in and departure we are flying additional colleagues out from the UK on the first flight tomorrow.

"By the end of Friday 20th January we expect to have brought home approximately 3,500 passengers on a total of 16 flights."


Man charged with murder after body found in suitcase

Forensic officers were seen examining the area. Credit: ITV News

A man has been charged with murder after a body was found hidden in a suitcase that was dumped in an alley.

The body of Kiran Daudia, 46, was discovered in a walkway off Cromer Street, Leicester, on Tuesday morning by a member of the public.

Leicestershire police have charged Ashwin Daudia, 50, with murder.

Daudia has been remanded in custody and will appear at Leicester Magistrates Court later today.


UK holidaymakers speak of 'chaos' in leaving Gambia

The first british travellers evacuated from Gambia returned to the UK overnight. Credit: AP

British holidaymakers returning from The Gambia have spoken of the "chaotic scramble" to get them on flights out of Africa.

The first UK tourists arrived at Manchester Airport overnight.

Sara Wilkins was on holiday in the crisis-torn country with her husband and said: "We weren't told anything, every day they were like, everything's fine, don't worry about it.

"But it was a nightmare at the airport, people were crying and panicking. It was just chaos."

Ralph Newton, from Nottingham, said: "We didn't get communication until this morning, 9am, you've got to leave. The coaches came and then it was just a bit of chaos, but they did their best at the airport."

Some 3,500 UK tourists are believed to be in the country with the international airport in the capital Banjul in danger of closing "at short notice".

Mauritania's leader in last-ditch appeal to Gambian PM

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (l) meets Yahya Jammeh. Credit: AP

Mauritania's leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has met with Gambian president Yahya Jammeh moments before a midnight deadline passed.

After the meeting, Mr Aziz told state television he was "less pessimistic".

He said: "I had a consultation with my brother [Gambian] President [Yahya] Jammeh and I am now less pessimistic. We will work on a peaceful solution, which is in the interest of everyone in Gambia, and everyone."

Mr Aziz left shortly before midnight en route to Senegal to hold further discussions with Senegalese president Macky Sall and Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow.

After more than two decades in power, Mr Jammeh was urged to cede power by the end of Wednesday or face military intervention by regional forces.

However as the deadline passed there has been no word from Mr Jammeh.

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