Jihadist group claims killing of six Sudanese intelligence agents
A little-known jihadist group on Wednesday claimed it killed six Sudanese intelligence officers in a Khartoum shootout that the authorities attributed to the Islamic State group.
The deadly gunfight erupted late on Tuesday when Sudan's intelligence services raided a suspected IS hideout in the capital, it said in a statement.
The agency said five of its officers were killed and five wounded in the operation, which led to the arrest of 11 militants. Another four gunmen escaped.
It was the first time that Sudanese authorities have announced the arrest of IS militants in the country.
On Wednesday, however, a jihadist group calling itself the Movement for Preaching and Combat claimed it killed the officers.
"Mujahideen from the Movement for Preaching and Combat successfully managed to kill six infidels from the offensive force including three senior officers and two soldiers," it said in a statement posted on Facebook.
In the statement, the group claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt on Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in March 2020. Authorities have not identified any culprits for the thwarted attack.
The group also denied it had any links to IS and that "cheap media tricks" by the Sudanese authorities would not stop it from carrying out attacks in the future.
AFP could not verify the authenticity of its claims.
Hamdok, who became prime minister after a pro-democracy movement ousted long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, has been leading a transitional government battling political, economic and security issues inherited from the previous regime.
After Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989, Sudan became an international pariah for its support of Islamist extremist groups including hosting Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda between 1992 and 1996.
The United States removed Sudan from its state sponsor of terrorism blacklist in December 2020, ushering in much-needed aid and financial investment after decades of harsh economic sanctions.
A 2019 US State Department report warned "despite the absence of high-profile terrorist attacks, ISIS facilitation networks appear to be active within Sudan".