CAIRO: A total of 112 people have been arrested at Egypt-Libya Sallum border before they manage to illegally travel to Libya through desert routes, Youm7 reported Wednesday.
Among the arrested, there were some 10 Sudanese; all the detained migrants were referred to specialized prosecution to be released later on.
This sort of arrest is frequent at Egypt’s borders, and is part of a campaign by security authorities to combat “illegal immigration.”
The campaign depends on “closing desert and mountain routes to not enable [migrants] to escape from fixed or moving ambushes, in full coordination with the Armed Forces and the Border Guards intelligence office in Sallum,” El-Anany Hamouda, head of Matrouh Security Directorate, told Youm7.
In a similar context, Hamouda said that Sallum authorities monitored the departure of 362 to Libya and the entering of 324 others who have previously left Egypt illegally.
Since Feb. 16, the number of Egyptian returnees at Sallum crossing fleeing war-torn Libya has reached 55,961. Thousands of Egyptians have flocked back to their home country following the killing of 20 Egyptian Copts by Libya’s Islamic State (IS) group and Egyptian retaliatory strikes that claimed killing dozens of the group’s militants.
Despite security deterioration in Libya, dozens of Egyptian and African migrants are being stopped at the crossing while trying to illegally travel to Libya, as they are believed to be seeking a better life either in the oil-rich country or by illegally traveling to European countries through the unguarded Mediterranean cost of Libya.
Officials have announced that the number of migrants who were arrested represent half of those who have already managed to illegally cross to Libya.
Additional reporting by Hassan Mashaly