The latest developments after Egyptian troops mistakenly opened fire on a group of Mexican tourists on a safari in the country’s western desert. All times Cairo time:
Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu will fly to Cairo to coordinate support efforts and study firsthand what happened to a group of Mexican tourists who were fired upon by security forces in the Egyptian desert.
In a news conference late Monday in Mexico City, Ruiz Massieu repeated that Mexican authorities were demanding a full investigation into the incident and that her government had still only confirmed that two Mexicans were killed and six wounded in the attack. She said authorities were still trying to find out what happened to another six tourists
She will accompany relatives of the Mexican victims on the flight to Cairo. The flight is to leave in the coming hours.
Mexico’s ambassador to Egypt, Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, told local media on Monday that two dead Mexican citizens in the attack in Egypt have been identified as Luis Barajas Fernandez and Maria de Lourdes Fernandez Rubio.
A third Mexican citizen, Rafael Bejarano, was confirmed dead by his sister, who said she had been informed of his death by his travelling companions. With six wounded, that would at least leave five unaccounted for. Reports vary on whether there were 14 or 15 tourists in the group.
Egypt’s ambassador to Mexico, Yasser Shaban, told reporters in Mexico City that vehicles used by a tour group attacked by Egyptian forces in the western desert were “similar to those used by terrorists.”
Shaban did not repeat earlier assertions that the tourists were in an off-limits area when they came under attack, which left 12 dead.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s ambassador to Egypt, Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, told local Radio Formula that the group which was attacked on Monday included 14 Mexicans. He says the tourists “had made a stop to rest and eat and continue on their way to one of the oases,” when they came under attack.
He says six Mexicans wounded in the attack are hospital and that they are in stable condition.
Friends and relatives of a Mexican man killed in a mistaken attack by Egyptian security forces in the Arab country’s western desert have identified him as Rafael Bejarano, who has given classes in spirituality and concerts in Mexico and the United States.
The identity of the other Mexican who died in the attack has not yet been confirmed.
Bejarano’s business partner, Rachel Stewart of San Clemente, California, says the Egyptian trip of about 15 friends was organized by Bejarano’s mother, Marisela. Stewart says Marisela, who also took part in the trip, was recovering from wounds suffered in the attack.
Stewart said Monday that the trip was planned as a sort of spiritual retreat, and that Marisela regularly organized similar trips.
The 41-year-old Bejarano had lived in San Clemente for about three years and was a self-described shaman, faith healer, and player of the didgeridoo — a long, wooden horn-like instrument from Australia.
Stewart says he “touched everyone with his heart, with his music, with his soul.”
Bejarano’s sister Gabriela Bejarano disputed government reports that the groups was not authorized to be in the area. She says she herself has been on the trip twice, and that “the controls are very strict.”
A hospital spokeswoman says two Mexicans wounded when Egyptian forces mistakenly fired upon tourists on a desert safari are dual American citizens.
Twelve people were killed in the incident, including two Mexican citizens, and a total of 10 people were wounded.
Mona el-Bakri, the spokeswoman for the Dar al-Fouad hospital where the wounded were being treated, says two of the seven Mexicans receiving treatment also hold American citizenship.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Brian Shott said officials are looking into whether an American citizen was involved in the incident.