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Egypt to deport Sudanese migrants

1/3/2006 7:41pm


CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Egypt will deport 654 Sudanese refugees who were violently evicted from a protest camp in a Cairo park last week, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday.

They will be taken to Sudan by ship on Thursday because "they were either found to be illegal immigrants or refugees who had violated security conditions," spokeswoman Fatma el-Zahraa Etman told The Associated Press.

The migrants were detained early Friday after squads of riot police evicted more than 1,000 Sudanese migrants from a small park where they had camped for three months to protest what they saw as a failure by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to help resettle them abroad.

After negotiations with their leaders, police with water cannons and truncheons stormed the park. The Interior Ministry said 12 protesters were killed, but security officials said 25 died, and a protest leader put the toll at 26.

At least 74 policemen were injured in the operation, which was condemned by local and international human rights groups.

Earlier Tuesday, UNHCR spokeswoman Astrid Van Genderen Stort said the deaths were "very sad," but nobody was to blame.

"We urged the police to deal with the situation in a peaceful manner," Stort said.

The Egyptian government has blamed the migrants for refusing to move and said that the UNHCR had asked it to end the protest.

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