Sudan’s intelligence services has said five counterterrorism officers have been killed during a raid in the capital targeting a cell linked to the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.
“Two officers and three non-commissioned officers” were killed during Tuesday’s operation in Khartoum, the agency said in a statement.
Security forces arrested “11 foreign terrorists from different nationalities” in the raid, while “four foreign terrorists managed to escape”, the statement added.
“They are being hunted down to be arrested,” it said.
A two-storey house in Khartoum’s Jabra neighbourhood was surrounded by a cordon of security forces, who asked crowds to move away in case explosives were left behind, the AFP news agency reported.
Neighbours told AFP they heard an exchange of gunfire and saw the wounded being transported away in cars.
No other information was immediately available.
In 2019, the United States Department of State had warned of the risk of ISIL in Sudan.
“Despite the absence of high-profile terrorist attacks, ISIS facilitation networks appear to be active within Sudan,” it said in its 2019 country report on terrorism.
Sudanese officials had “acknowledged that there were ‘extremists’ linked to ISIS in the country”, the report added.
To the north of Sudan lies Egypt, which for years has been battling an armed campaign in the Sinai Peninsula led mainly by the local branch of ISIL.
Another group of ISIL fighters is active in Yemen, across the Red Sea from Sudan.
Tuesday’s incident came after Sudan’s government said it thwarted a coup attempt last week involving military officers and civilians linked to the government of longtime President Omar al-Bashir. Al-Bashir was removed by the military in 2019 in the wake of months of protests against his three-decade rule.