Originally published in All Africa.com
For the third time this year, a group of Sudanese students have left the country to join the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The four women students left Sudan via Khartoum National Airport, El Sudani newspaper reported on Sunday. Further details were unknown so far.
Relatives of two of the students, who are twins, told the newspaper that they flew on Saturday night with Qatar Airways; flights to Istanbul are heavily checked after the majority of the first two groups of Islamist students opted for Turkish Airlines.
One of them was studying Laboratory Science at the National College in Khartoum. Her sister is a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine at the private University of Medical Sciences and Technolgy, the university where most of the former IS adherents studied.
After the family discovered that the twins and their passports had disappeared, their father went to the airport, where he was shown a security video of his daughters’ departure.
In the last week of June, 12 Sudanese medical students, three of them women, left Khartoum to join IS in Syria. They belong to wealthy Sudanese families and studied at the private University of Medical Sciences and Technology in the affluent El Riyad district.
At least five of them boarded an aircraft to Turkey. Another group had left Khartoum on board a Fly Dubai flight. The first batch was later apprehended by Turkish intelligence agents who prevented them from travelling to Syria.
In March, at least twelve students and graduates of the University of Medical Sciences and Technology left for Turkey. They also came from wealthy Sudanese families and travelled on British passports.
The daughter of the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ali El Sadig, was among the students who disappeared in June. He wondered how she could board an aircraft at Khartoum airport without the exit stamp required for Sudanese to leave the country or a visa for Turkey or any other country. According to El Sadig, the travel in June was an organised event with high officials involved. It would otherwise have been impossible for them to travel without being caught.