Egypt: Reports of hundreds of Eritrean hostages in Sinai ‘unconfirmed’

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Friday that reports that more than 250 Eritrean immigrants are being held hostage by gangs of human traffickers in the Sinai peninsula are still "unconfirmed."

International and local rights organizations reported that gangs of smugglers have been holding the migrants hostage for nearly ten days and demanding that captives pay a ransom of US$8,000 per person.

According to these reports, the hostages contracted traffickers to help smuggle them into Israel, but upon arrival in Sinai, the traffickers demanded more money and refused to release the migrants.

"Despite intensified efforts that security forces have undertaken, they have not yet confirmed the capture or death of the aforementioned Eritreans," said Mohamed Abdel Hakam, the Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs, Egyptians Abroad, Migration and Refugees.

Abdel Hakam said information circulating in the media about the situation is “imprecise and inaccurate.”

"Security agencies are continuing efforts around the clock to determine the veracity of reports," he said.

Egypt announced Wednesday that security forces arrested 83 Africans illegally attempting to cross into Israel through Sinai. The migrants included 20 Eritreans and 63 Ethiopians, of which 12 were women and 51 were men.

Egyptian authorities say increasing numbers of Africans are attempting to immigrate illegally to Israel through Egypt's borders with the help of gangs of Bedouin traffickers.

Israel says approximately 10,000 African migrants have illegally entered its territories through the Egyptian border in recent years.

Related Articles

Back to top button