Sudan arrests 12 trying to smuggle ancient mummies

KHARTOUM Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:52pm BST

Mummies from the Chachapoyas culture are displayed at the Museum of Leymebamba, in the Andean region of Chachapollas, March 16, 2007. Sudanese authorities have arrested 12 people accused of smuggling ancient antiquities including two entire mummies, a state news agency said on Saturday. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Mummies from the Chachapoyas culture are displayed at the Museum of Leymebamba, in the Andean region of Chachapollas, March 16, 2007. Sudanese authorities have arrested 12 people accused of smuggling ancient antiquities including two entire mummies, a state news agency said on Saturday.

Credit: Reuters/Mariana Bazo

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KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese authorities have arrested 12 people accused of smuggling ancient antiquities including two entire mummies, a state news agency said on Saturday.

"The police authorities in Nile state have thwarted an attempt to smuggle ancient artefacts," the state Sudanese Media Centre said.

It gave no details of the age of the mummies.

Sudan, home of the ancient Nubian civilisation, has more pyramids than neighbouring Egypt, but little excavation is done on its archaeological sites.

Sometimes known as the "Black Pharaohs," Nubian kings ruled Egypt from roughly 760 B.C. to 660 B.C. Sudan's most viewed pyramids in Merowe in northern Sudan date from about 300 B.C.

Egypt has demanded museums around the world return its antiquities, which have been smuggled out over the centuries.

Few people visit Sudan's pyramids and ancient cities, situated mostly north of Khartoum along the river Nile.

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