Eight children of jihadists flown back to Sudan from Libya

Sudanese children whose parents were reportedly jihadists in Libya get off a plane in Khartoum on June 20, 2017 (AFP Photo/Ebrahim Hamid)

Sudanese authorities on Tuesday brought home from Libya eight children, including a one-year-old, whose parents are allegedly members of the Islamic State group.

The children were flown into Khartoum from the Libyan capital Tripoli, an AFP correspondent said.

“Thanks be to Allah, today eight children,” were brought back from Libya, Brigadier Tijani Ibrahim of Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NSS) told reporters.

Six of the children will be handed over to relatives while the state will take care of the other two because authorities could not find any next of kin, he said.

Ibrahim said the children were brought out of Libya with help from the Libyan Red Crescent, and that four more children were expected to be flown back to Sudan at an unspecified time.

A representative for the Sudanese community in the Libyan city of Misrata, Motaz Abbas, accompanied the children home.

He said their parents “are members of the Islamic State group”.

“Their mothers have been arrested by Libyan authorities and their fathers are listed as missing,” Abbas said.

Libya descended into chaos following the NATO-backed ouster of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, with rival administrations and militias vying for control of its vast oil wealth.

The infighting and lawlessness allowed extremist groups such as IS to seize several coastal regions, giving the jihadists a toehold on Europe’s doorstep.

In February a four-month-old baby girl born to Sudanese parents who were IS fighters in Libya was also brought home and entrusted to the care of her grandfather.

Her mother and father were killed during fighting in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, which IS had transformed into a bastion to train jihadists before pro-government forces retook it in December 2016.

Sudanese officials says dozens of young Sudanese have joined IS in Libya, Syria and Iraq.