CAIRO: Egypt’s coast guards foiled two illegal emigration attempts and prevented 188 people from boarding a boat and crossing the Mediterranean to Italy, al-Ahram reported Saturday.
A total of 169 illegal migrants have been arrested by Egyptian coastguards off the shores of Delta’s Beheira governorate. The migrants were arrested while waiting for a boat to carry them to Italy.
The migrants include 13 Egyptians and others from Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia. The initial investigations revealed that they paid $2,000 (about $17,700) EGP each for the ride.
Meanwhile, coast guards have foiled another illegal emigration attempt, also to Italy, by 19 people off the shores of Alexandria Saturday. All migrants (11 children, four men, and four women) have been interrogated and confessed that two human traffickers organized their illegal flight for 30,000 EGP each.
On May 1, Egyptian military spokesperson Mohamed Samir said in a statement that navy forces have thwarted an illegal migration attempt by 159 people from different African countries before heading to southern Europe.
The two attempts came a day after Greek forces recovered nine dead bodies and rescued a total of 230 unregistered migrants from a boat, coming form Libya in the Mediterranean Sea, according to AP.
Egypt is contacting with both Greek and Libyan authorities to help in rescue operations in the area where the boat sank, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahme Abu Zeid in a statement Saturday
Egypt’s northern coast has been the departure point in a number of migration attempts by hundreds of asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa, particularly from Egypt Syria, Iraq and Libya, via the Mediterranean Sea to Italy or Greece as gates for other European countries.