Kidnapped tourists on their way to Egypt - Sudanese official

Tourists kidnapped in Egypt's desert are moving towards Egypt and could be released within hours, local media said on Sunday, quoting government officials.

"Sudanese security forces have located the route (of kidnapped group)," Sudanese Foreign Ministry official Ali Youssef told Al- Arabiya television. "They are currently on their way to Egyptian borders from Sudan east Uwainat region."

Security sources contacted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa could not immediately verify the information in the latest developments coming since the 19-member desert safari group were taken captive by a gang of masked men on September 19 in the Gilf Kebir region of Egypt's western desert, reported dpa.

The 19 hostages include five Germans, five Italians, one Romanian and eight Egyptian tour group employees.

Meanwhile the independent Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm cited a German official as saying the hostages release might be imminent.

"The negotiations have been successful and the hostages will be released within a couple of hours," the German official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Germany is handling the negotiations with the kidnappers on behalf of the governments of the other abducted tourists.

Sunday's developments came amid conflicting reports about the hostages' actual whereabouts and the nationality of the kidnappers.

On Thursday, Sudanese officials had said the group had been taken to Libya. But a day later, Libyan sources denied they were Libya.

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