World Bulletin/News Desk
The Malaysian Embassy in Cairo has started the evacuation of around 3,300 Malaysians studying at Al-Azhar University because of the ongoing turmoil in Egypt.
"This does not mean the withdrawing of students," an official at the embassy told Anadolu Agency.
"This is only for those who voluntarily want to go home."
The source declined to provide the exact number of students returning to Malaysia.
But a security source at Cairo International Airport said that 400 Malaysian students had arrived at the airport early Thursday.
About 3,300 Malaysians are studying at Al-Azhar University.
The embassy official said Egyptian authorities have shown understanding toward Malaysia's desire to have the students return home.
He said that relations between the two countries will not be affected and that the decision to evacuate the students was a security precaution to save their lives.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak ordered on Tuesday the evacuation of Malaysian students from Egypt.
"We will be booking tickets on commercial flights via Oman and Istanbul, among other destinations, to bring our students home," he said.
Najib said the decision to help get the students out of Egypt was recommended by the National Security Council.
Egypt has been in the throes of political violence since the July 3 ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi by the army after mass demonstrations against his regime.
Hundreds of people were killed when security forces violently dispersed two pro-Morsi protests camps in Cairo earlier this month.
Sheikh Ali Abdel-Baqi, Secretary-General of Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy, said other countries like Thailand have also asked their students to leave Egypt.
"But those who have decided to leave do not exceed one-fourth of the foreigners studying in Al-Azhar," he told AA.
He said that some students have asked to leave Egypt for a month or two until the situation in the country stabilizes.
"There are some countries such as Indonesia, which has the biggest number of foreigners studying in Al-Azhar, which has not decided to evacuate its students," said the official.Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ağustos 2013, 15:56