20 Sudanese migrants die in Cairo protest

At least 20 Sudanese protesters died and around 50 were injured yesterday when Egyptian police dispersed a three-month sit-in by thousands of Sudanese demanding to be relocated to another country, officials said.

20 Sudanese migrants die in Cairo protest

An interior ministry source said at least 20 refugees, including three children, died in the melee and 74 police were wounded. The ministry said in a statement that the people died in what it said was a stampede among the protesters, who have been camped at the site in Cairo's upmarket neighbourhood of Mohandessin.

Witnesses had said about 2,000 riot police stormed the camp site early yesterday and beat the people inside with truncheons and sticks after officials failed to persuade the Sudanese to board buses to take them to another site.

Pools of blood were visible on the pavement as the Sudanese men in the camp fought back with sticks and hurled bottles at the riot police. About 4,000 police in total ringed the site, near the offices of the UN agency that deals with refugees.

About 3,500 Sudanese had camped at the site in squalid conditions in protest at what they said was poor treatment since fleeing their home country, racked by years of civil war. "The security forces were present to ensure a process of transporting those mentioned [Sudanese] and to prevent squatting," the ministry statement said. Eyewitnesses said there were about six unconscious Sudanese, some of them young children, lying on the ground. A doctor who examined a girl aged about four who was brought to him after being found unconscious said: "She's dead."

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called the deaths at the camp a tragedy but a Sudanese official said Egyptian security forces were entitled to disperse the sit-in. "There is no justification for such violence and loss of life," High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said.

A UNHCR spokesperson said the agency had told the Egyptian authorities that the situation should be dealt with peacefully.

Following the incident, Sudan urged the refugees to return home. "The door is open for the protesters to return to Sudan. It's better than what they are being exposed to now. We call on them to return," said Ali Ahmad Kerti, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Source: Tradearabia

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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