70 Sudanese Have Joined ISIS Since 2011

Khartoum gives a definitive figure for the first time on how many of its nationals have joined ISIS; 12 were medical students.

Arutz Sheva Staff, | updated: 22:42

"Rude" and unruly ISIS fighters in Syria
"Rude" and unruly ISIS fighters in Syria

Sudan's Interior Minister Ismat Abdul Rahman said Monday that 70 young Sudanese have joined the Islamic State group since the jihadist organization's emergence, traveling to Syria and Libya.

Several groups of students from Sudan - some holding western passports - are thought to have travelled to Syria via Turkey to join the ISIS group, but this is the first time Khartoum has given a figure.

"The total of those who have left the country to join the Daesh organization has reached 70 young men and women," Abdul Rahman said at a news conference, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The minister played down the significance of the figure, saying it was smaller than the number of recruits from other countries.

Abdul Rahman said that Khartoum, in coordination with the Turkish government, had been able to prevent several "cases from joining Daesh." 

Sudan's security apparatus and education services were also running awareness campaigns to prevent young Sudanese from joining the ISIS group, he said.

Abdul Rahman said there were now "new, more stringent regulations related to granting exit visas and it has become more difficult to obtain entry visas to those countries," without elaborating further.

In June, 12 students from Khartoum's University of Medical Sciences and Technology were feared to have traveled to Turkey to join the group. Some held British, Canadian and US passports.

Another group of nine British students from the same university are also thought to have flown to Turkey from Khartoum to join the jihadist group in Syria.

AFP contributed to this report.