Shootout with kidnappers on Sudan-Chad border

Other News Materials 28 September 2008 22:44 (UTC +04:00)

A shootout took place between the kidnappers of 19 tourists and Sudanese military on Sunday on Sudan's border with Chad, a Sudanese military spokesman said, dpa reported.

The spokesman was quoted by the Egyptian Middle East News Agency (MENA) as saying six of the kidnappers were killed in the clash, including the group's leader. One Sudanese soldier was injured.

According to the spokesman, during the melee the hostages were removed from the scene by 35 armed men in vehicles who suddenly crossed the border from Chad.

Reports earlier Sunday quoting Sudan's Foreign Ministry had said that Sudanese security forces had located the route of the kidnapped group and they might be released within hours.

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

The nationality of the kidnappers is still unknown with reports saying they could be from Chad or may be Darfur rebels.