AFRICANGLOBE – The Egyptian army on Saturday denied reports that units of Sudanese troops have infiltrated the country’s borders and called on the media to seek verification before disseminating this category of news.
Egypt’s military spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Ali issued a statement today saying that these reports are “false in form and substance….that lack truth and credibility”.
He added that the publication of such news without corroboration or evidence may cause a state of chaos and confusion within the Egyptian public opinion and has the potential of undermining national security.
The Cairo-based al-Dostor newspaper quoted an unnamed official in the Egyptian Land Ports Authority as saying that while he was driving near the Qostol border crossing, he observed a group of Sudanese who penetrated 250 meters inside Egyptian territory and raised the Sudanese flag.
Muhammad al-Ghaity, the presenter of the “Sah al-Noum” show on al-Tahrir TV disclosed that the said official informed the Egyptian armed forces and border guards of the incident.
As a result, the Egyptian army chased the Sudanese group off the area and sealed the borders from that direction to prevent future incursions.
Khartoum and Cairo assert claim over the border region known as Halayeb in a dispute that dates back to as early as 1958 after Sudan gained independence from being ruled jointly by Britain and Egypt.
The Egyptian army seized control of Halayeb region, an area of land measuring 20,580 square km in the border areas of the Red Sea coast, after relations between the two neighbors plummeted due to the 1995’s failed attempt by Islamists allegedly backed by Sudan to assassinate the then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa.
Cairo has routinely dismissed Khartoum’s demands that the issue be resolved through international arbitration.
In April, a controversy erupted in Egypt following assertions by Sudanese presidential assistant Musa Mohamed Ahmed that president Muhammad Morsi, who was ousted last July, promised during his visit to Khartoum to restore the situation in Halayeb to its pre-1995 status.
Since the overthrow of Morsi, Egyptian media have accused him of reaching a secret deal with Sudan to forfeit Halayeb.