CAIRO: Officials at Egypt-Libya Sallum border crossing said they arrested 88 Egyptians Tuesday while trying to travel to Libya illegally through desert routes, according to Youm7. The practice has escalated in the past months.
Such arrests take place on a near-daily basis; border authorities stop dozens of Egyptians and foreigners, who risk crossing to war-torn Libya through Egypt’s vast borders with Libya.
Migrants are believed to be searching for a better life in Egypt’s western neighbor, despite the fact that wide swaths of the country are under Islamist militias’ grip, or to immigrate to Europe through libya’s unguarded coast.
According to Youm7, officials say border authorities in Siwa Oasis and Sallum foil attempts by 3,000 people monthly to “illegally depart” to Libya, while those who manage to infiltrate are a lot more.
Also, the Sallum crossing has received some 40,000 Egyptians fleeing the oil-rich country since 20 Egyptian Copts were beheaded in a video at the hands of Libya’s Islamic State (IS) group in mid-February.
On the other hand, Cairo International Airport authorities deported Tuesday 39 Sudanese and six Iraqis who were arrested over attempted “illegal immigration” to Italy, according to DPA.
The arrested people were caught a week ago in a fishing boat with dozens of Egyptians. Both Sudanese and Iraqi embassies in Egypt were contacted to issue travel documents for those who do not have passports.
Italy has been one of the most European destinations that witnessed the illegal practice of immigration by many Arabs and Africans through the Mediterranean Sea; many have drowned during the process.
On Monday, coast guards recovered five drowned bodies and arrested 20 people in Egypt’s northern governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh as they were heading to Italy.