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British Embassy in Sudan Remains Closed After Terror Threat

The British Embassy in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, remained closed to the public Tuesday following reported threats to Western interests there. Arjun Kohli has more on the story from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

British expatriates in Khartoum have been told to be on their guard following terrorist threats against Western individuals and institutions. The British Embassy issued a warning to all its nationals and has closed its embassy to the public for the past three days.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who did not want to be named, says Western interests, including British official interests, may be targeted.

"We were advised of the threat of terrorist attacks in Khartoum and the fact that western interests including British official interests may have been targeted," she said. "We never discuss where intelligence matters come from and on this occasion I cannot confirm whether it came from the Sudanese government or not. The threat was against Western interests so that would have covered potentially other western embassies in Khartoum."

Last week eight Sudanese men were arrested on charges of stockpiling explosives and grenades in an underground bunker. British press reports have commented on potential links between the arrests and the terror threats, but statements from Sudan's ministry of the interior downplay links between the men and internationally supported terrorist activity.

Rather, they say the munitions they found are a symptom of a more general arms problem in Sudan and the Horn of Africa.

The British embassy estimates 1,300 Britons live in Sudan with 2,500 dual nationals.

Sudan's government hosted Osama bin Laden in Khartoum between 1991 and 1996. Although it eventually expelled him and began co-operating with the West in the war on terrorism, there are reports that al-Qaida still has a presence in Sudan.