AFRICANGLOBE – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his deep concern on Monday on the deaths of the five Sudanese refugees near the Egyptian-Israeli border and urged Egypt to “launch a full investigation” into the tragic events.
In response to questions related to refugees, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that Ban Ki-moon remains deeply troubled by the reports. Dujarric confirmed that the UN urged Egyptian authorities to begin a comprehensive investigation to shed light on these tragic events and ensure accountability in order to prevent the recurrence of such events.
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid however expressed Egypt’s rejection of the UN’s statement. Abu Zaid noted that the persistence in issuing premature statements and criticisms is deplorable, particularly without relying on accurate information or considering official statements issued by the Egyptian government to clarify the circumstances.
Abu Zaid invited the UN official and his advisors to read the statement issued by the Ministry of Defence spokesperson after the incident, which clarifies beyond any doubt the Egyptian border guards were dealing with illegal infiltrators (a term used to describe African refugees) across its North-Eastern international boundary. He stressed that Egypt’s law enforcement forces that fired warning shots, which the “infiltrators” ignored.
Abu Zaid said the world is being swept by an increasing number and gravity of terrorist attacks and their growing demands for heightened international cooperation to combat terrorism that includes enhanced border security to prevent infiltration by terrorist or criminal elements and weapons smuggling, yet some still criticise specific countries for taking measures to secure their borders in line with their national and international obligations.
One so-called expert on Sudan and the Nile Basin at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies Hani Raslan told Egyptian news outlets that the incident is one among many that have been happening for a long time.
Raslan believes Egypt did nothing wrong since the forces had to deal with illegal immigrants who usually trespass on the borders, many of whom are Eritreans and Sudanese. The Egyptian government is doing its best to prevent such incidents but the phenomenon is widespread, he barked.
Earlier in November, 15 Sudanese refugees were murdered and eight injured by Egyptian security forces when they were allegedly caught trying to illegally enter Israel from Sinai. There was no official statement on the incident.
According to a report released in February 2014 by Human Rights Watch, there was “collusion of Sudanese and Egyptian security forces with the traffickers”.
Israel does not welcome African refugees and has taken several procedures to stop their entrance into the country. There are currently nearly 50,000 African refugees in Israel, most of whom are denied any official status.
The Egyptian army has a shoot to kill policy regarding Africans who try to cross its border.
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