Khartoum (AFP) – Sudanese security agents on Wednesday brought home from Libya seven Sudanese women who they said were members of the jihadist Islamic State group.
The seven women, dressed in traditional Sudanese clothes and wearing headscarves, were shown to journalists at Khartoum airport where they were welcomed by their relatives amid chants of “Allahu Akbar”.
Three children were also brought along with the women, an AFP correspondent reported.
The group, which included twin sisters, had arrived from the Libyan city of Misrata, security officials said.
“The seven women were members of Da’esh and some had even participated in fighting on the battlefield,” Brigadier Tijani Ibrahim of Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) told AFP using the Arabic acronym for IS.
The women had gone to Libya in 2014 and 2015 to join the jihadist group, Ibrahim told reporters, as the women stood in a line against a wall with their heads bowed.
“Thanks to Allah, we have returned to our country,” said one of the women, who made a brief statement to reporters and did not give her name.
Ibrahim said experts will talk to the women to understand what made them join IS.
“After that, we will try to reintegrate them into the Sudanese society,” he said.
The group was welcomed by relatives waiting at a hall inside the airport, some of whom cried and hugged the women when they were brought in by security agents.
A relative of one of the three children brought along with the women said that her father had taken her two brothers to Libya three years ago.
“My father took them telling them that they were going for a trip,” she told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“One of my two brothers and my father were killed in Libya.”
Sudanese officials say dozens of young Sudanese men and women had joined IS over the past few years.
Several groups of students from Sudan — some holding Western passports — had travelled to Syria, Iraq and Libya to join the group.
Sudanese media has reported the deaths of some of the students while fighting for the group in the three countries.
In 2017, Sudanese security agents brought home a four-month-old baby girl whose parents were killed in Libya while fighting for the jihadist group.