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Sudanese students leave to join IS

March 20 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq marching in Raqqa, Syria (AP)
Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq marching in Raqqa, Syria (AP)

Eleven students and one doctor of a private medical university in Khartoum have left Sudan to join the extremist IS in Iraq and Syria.

In the past two weeks, they initially set out for Turkey to work with medical teams that treat civilians injured during the war waged by the international coalition against the extremist Islamic State (IS).

According to local media in Sudan on Thursday, the University of Medical Sciences in Khartoum reported that the twelve left with British passports for Turkey. Their families fear that they will join the IS, after receiving the news of their departure from Turkey by telephone.

Ahmed Babiker, Dean of Student Affairs at the prestigious private University, owned by the Minister of Health of Khartoum state, told the press that three medical students who recently graduated as doctors from the faculty, along with two medicine students, have disappeared.

“The five told their families that they intended to travel to Turkey on a scientific journey, but doubts follow them about the possibility of joining the 'Daash' [IS].” The dean accused “jihadist networks” outside the university to attract students and convince them to join the ranks of the IS.

Pro-extremist groups

Another source in the university acknowledged that an association called “Islamic Civilisation” is active within the university, to stimulate students to join the extremists. But he was unsure “whether the association has a relationship with extremist organisations outside the univeristy”.

Political activies inside the university are stopped. However, the Islamic Civilisation manages to operate there without intervention, and has put up posters advertising their case. Its members wear short djellabas inside the university. The women students wear a nigab  covering the entire face. 

Most students in the faculty come from wealthy Sudanese families that live in Arab countries.

Danger zone to foreign extremists

The director of the political administration at the presidential palace, Abdelwahab El Sawi, warned in the past that Sudan is accused of being a transit area for jihadist groups with, among them, Sudanese fighters.

El Sawi, who was speaking at a lecture on the military situation in West Africa, said that Sudan lies in the danger zone of the growing influence of Islamic extremist groups in Libya and northern Nigeria.

In 2013, a student of the University of Medical Sciences left to Mali, to fight in the ranks of Islamic extremist groups.

Islamic extremist groups in Sudan are able to operate through religious associations in mosques.


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