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'Egyptians harass Sudanese with Dollars': Cairo community

November 20 - 2015 CAIRO
Sudanese refugees in a Cairo suburb in February, 2008 (Reuters)
Sudanese refugees in a Cairo suburb in February, 2008 (Reuters)

UPDATE 20:15: Sudanese citizens in Cairo are regularly harassed by Egyptians in downtown areas of the capital city, mostly related to their possession of US Dollars, according to various reports. Sudanese nationals who live in Egypt’s capital have disputed what is described by the Sudanese Embassy as mistreatment of Sudanese persons who carry Dollars in Egypt. The Egyptian government promised that an investigation is underway into the reported abuses by the security service.

The deputy head of the high council of the Sudanese community in Egypt reported the issue to the Sudanese press on Thursday. “About fifteen Sudanese have been subjected to harassment and assault by the Egyptians in Cairo's downtown areas Abdeen and Ezbekiya.”

He said that although the Egyptian law allows foreigners to carry nearly $3,000 and move naturally, these days Egyptian authorities arrest Sudanese people who carry smaller amounts - such as $500 and less. The community leader has called on the Sudanese Embassy to protect the Sudanese citizens in Cairo.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry cited the possibility of "isolated" cases of abuses by the country’s security services against Sudanese citizens on Thursday, and said that an investigation is underway by the relevant agencies. Shoukry met with the Sudanese Ambassador, Abdelmahmoud Abdelhalim, and Sudan's Consul General in Cairo.

Consul General Khalid El Sheikh submitted a memo to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry this week inquiring about the recent surge of harassment complaints against Sudanese citizens. The memo pointed that bad treatment by police and national security has recently increased against Sudanese nationals.

'Not only Sudanese are specifically targeted.'

The media adviser in the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum, however, has denied reports attributed to the Foreign Ministry that Sudanese nationals are targeted in Egypt. Abdelrahman Nassif told Radio Tamazuj that detention of the currency traders by the Egyptian authorities does not spare anybody. He added that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said in a statement that the Sudanese nationals were not deliberately targeted, pointing to isolated cases only.

Several Sudanese citizens told Radio Tamazuj from Cairo that the crackdown on currency traders in the black market targets all nationalities including Egyptians, not only Sudanese: “It is natural for the Egyptian government to fight it, so there is no any harassment at all.”

Cairo sit-in

Hundreds of Sudanese refugees staged a sit-in in front of the office of the UN refugees agency (UNHCR) in Cairo on Sunday 8 November. The sit-in was the latest action of a series of protests staged in the preceding week against the deterioration of the security situation in the districts the refugees are living in: Osman Housing and El Hai El Asher in Six October city, near Cairo.

A spokesman for the Sudanese Refugees Committee told Radio Dabanga: “[Sudanese] repeatedly suffer from racist assaults and insults by the Egyptian population in these districts.”

Sudanese activists on social networking sites have started a campaign to push the government to take a stance against Cairo.

(Sources: Radio Dabanga, Sudan Tribune)

Related:

Sudan, Egypt presidents exchange detainees as gifts (7 August 2015)

20 Sudanese deported from Cairo ( 21 July 2015)


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