KHARTOUM - Sudan's Interior Minister Ismat Abdul Rahman said Monday that 70 young Sudanese have joined the Islamic State group since the jihadist organisation's emergence, travelling to Syria and Libya.
Several groups of students from Sudan -- some holding western passports -- are thought to have travelled to Syria via Turkey to join the IS group, but this is the first time Khartoum has given a figure.
"The total of those who have left the country to join the Daesh organisation has reached 70 young men and women," Abdul Rahman said at a news conference, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
The minister played down the significance of the figure, saying it was smaller than the number of recruits from other countries.
Abdul Rahman said that Khartoum, in coordination with the Turkish government, had been able to prevent several "cases from joining Daesh".
Sudan's security apparatus and education services were also running awareness campaigns to prevent young Sudanese from joining the IS group, he said.
Abdul Rahman said there were now "new, more stringent regulations related to granting exit visas and it has become more difficult to obtain entry visas to those countries," without elaborating further.
In June, 12 students from Khartoum's University of Medical Sciences and Technology were feared to have travelled to Turkey to join the group. Some held British, Canadian and US passports.
Another group of nine British students from the same university are also thought to have flown to Turkey from Khartoum to join the jihadist group in Syria.