Sudanese police say they have freed 47 foreign nationals being held by human traffickers in the east of the country.
Police director of Kassala state in eastern Sudan, General Omer Almukhtar, said Saturday that the people were freed after heavy clashes between security forces and 10 heavily armed men.
The general revealed that the hostages - all adult males - were from Eritrea and Ethiopia. He said the traffickers were also foreign, but refused to be drawn on their exact nationalities.
"We clashed with the gang groups at the Bahar area on the border between Sudan and Eritrea and we managed to free the hostages and arrest the perpetrators," he said.
Human trafficking is widespread on the border between Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Hundreds of Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in Sudan have been abducted and taken as hostages for ransoms. Some human rights organizations have accused officials in the local border authorities in Sudan of participating in the trade.
Sudan has refuted these claims.