Egypt to deport 650 Sudanese

Egypt will deport 654 Sudanese refugees who were violently evicted from a protest camp in a Cairo park last week, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says.

    Police had used water canon and truncheons on the refugees

    Spokeswoman Fatma el-Zahraa Etman on Tuesday said the 654 would be expelled on Thursday because "they were either found to be illegal immigrants or refugees who had violated security conditions".

    "There are 645 Sudanese who are going to go back to Sudan. They are leaving by boat on Thursday... They may be illegal immigrants. Why should we send a refugee back? If they have broken the law of the host country."

    The migrants were detained early on Friday when squads of riot police evicted more than a thousand Sudanese migrants
    from a small park where they had camped for three months in
    protest against what they saw as the UN High Commissioner
    for Refugees' (UNHCR) failure to help resettle them.

    After showering the squatters with water canon and negotiating with their leaders, the police stormed the park
    swinging truncheons.

    The Interior Ministry said 12 protesters were killed, but security officials said 25 died and a protest leader put the toll at 26.

    Some 74 policemen were wounded in the operation which was
    condemned by local and international human rights groups.

    UNHCR: No blame

    Earlier on Tuesday, UNHCR said it had received assurances from Cairo that the Sudanese refugees would not be deported to Sudan.

    Spokeswoman Astrid Van Genderen Stort said the deaths were "very sad", but nobody was to blame.

    Up to 26 Sudanese were killed and
    74 Egyptian police officers hurt

    "We urged the police to deal with the situation in a peaceful manner," she said.

    The Egyptian government has blamed the migrants for refusing to move and said that the UNHCR had asked it to end the protest.

    "We are not blaming anyone," Stort said of the police operation. "It went as it went and it ended in a tragic way.

    "It is very sad that so many people had to die and get injured from both sides," Stort added. She said she had no exact number for the toll.

    "Hundreds" of Sudanese were taken to police detention camps, Stort added.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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