‘International agents’ behind Arab, African extremism

Sudan’s NCP accuses international agencies of being behind the internationally spreading extremism. Families are in search of the Sudanese students, who recently travelled…

Officials of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have accused 'international agencies' of being behind the extremism spreading in Arab and African countries. The families of the group of Sudanese medical students who recently travelled to Syria and are believed to be working in hospitals of the Islamic State, have rushed to Turkey in an attempt to retrieve their children.

In a speech at the Arab and African Youth Summit in Khartoum on Sunday, Second Vice-President, Hassabo Mohamed Abdelrahman, warned for the dangers of extremism and its impact on economic and political development in the regions.

He called on the participants to unify their ranks to deny “the enemies of the Arab and African nations” the opportunity of joining extremist groups in the regions.

35 Arab and African states take part in the conference, organised by the Council of Arab and African Youths.

Mustafa Osman Ismail, head of NCP’s Political Bureau, accused "internal and external actors, and international intelligence agencies of being the driving force behind the extremism in Arab and African societies, by funding it with weapons and facilitating communication.

“Extremism cannot be addressed through violence,” he stressed. “Extremists in Sudan have been treated through dialogue, after which they rejoined the society.”

“We all have to be attentive to plans aiming to distract youths from building their homeland and squander the resources of the continent on useless wars and conflicts.” – Mustafa Osman Ismail, NCP.

Ismail pointed to a group of Sudanese medical students who recently entered Syria via Turkey, reportedly to work in hospitals under the control of the extremist Islamic State (IS). The British Observer reported that they flew from Khartoum to Istanbul on 12 March, took a bus to the border the next day, and crossed over soon after.

Families search for students

“We [the families] are all here,” a father of one of the nine Sudanese medical students told the Turkish Birgün newspaper on Saturday, from a temporary base in southern Turkey. In a message to her sister, moments before crossing the Turkish border into Syria, 19-year-old Lina Mamoun Abdelgader told her relatives not to worry: “We’ve reached Turkey, and are on our way to volunteer helping wounded Syrian people.” But the families are convinced they are working as doctors with the IS.

Coming from wealthy families residing in the UK, the students were studying medicine at a private college in Sudan’s capital, the University of Medical Sciences, owned by the Sudanese Ministry of Health.

According to media in Sudan on Thursday, the university reported that a total of eleven students, among them three graduates, and one doctor left with British passports for Turkey in the past two weeks. The Observer reported that the group consists of nine students, born and raised in the UK. However, they may also have travelled with two Sudanese classmates, Turkish opposition politician Mehmet Ali Ediboglu said.

The politician stressed to the Observer that both he and the students’ parents were convinced that the group did not plan to take up arms with the IS. “Let’s not forget about the fact that they are doctors; they went there to help, not to fight.”

The Home Office in the United Kingdom said taking part in a conflict abroad could be an offence under criminal and anti-terrorism laws.

(Sources: Sudan Tribune, Sudan Vision Daily, The Guardian, The Observer)