Sudanese children of Islamic State militants released in Libya

by Reuters
Sunday, 20 August 2017 22:35 GMT

Members of Libyan Red Crescent hand over the children of Sudanese Islamic State members who operated in Libya, to a Sudanese official, in Misrata, Libya August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

Image Caption and Rights Information
Dozens of women and children detained towards the end of the fighting have been held in Misrata

MISRATA, Libya, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Four children from Sudan whose parents are believed to have been killed fighting for Islamic State in the Libyan city of Sirte last year were handed over to the Sudanese consul on Sunday for return to their country.

Sirte was a stronghold for Islamic State from 2015-2016, when Libyan forces backed by U.S. air strikes ousted the ultra-hardline group. Hundreds of foreign militants joined Islamic State in Sirte.

Dozens of women and children detained towards the end of the fighting have been held in Misrata, the city from which the military campaign in Sirte was led.

They include nationals of Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Senegal, Chad, and Niger. Twenty-one Libyan children have been handed back to their families.

In June, eight children were handed over to the Sudanese authorities and returned to Sudan. Eleven other Sudanese women and children are still in Misrata.

The Red Crescent's head of psychological support in Misrata, Salah Abuzreba, appealed to all countries "that haven't responded until this moment to receive those children as a human act, so they can be returned to their relatives".

(Reporting by Ayman al-Sahli in Misrata, Writing by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Sandra Maler)