CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian border forces shot dead five Sudanese migrants trying to cross from Egypt’s turbulent North Sinai region into Israel on Monday, the military said in a statement.
“Law enforcement tasked with protecting the border spotted at dawn today a group of Africans trying to sneak though the international border in cooperation with criminal elements involved in illegal immigration,” the military said.
“The force fired several warning shots and moved to arrest those trespassers who shot at the security force. The force engaged them, killing five, injuring six and arresting five more. All of them were Sudanese.”
North Sinai, which is bordered to the east by Israel and the Gaza Strip, is the epicenter of an Islamist militant insurgency. Militants there have killed hundreds of soldiers and police.
On Nov. 15, Egyptian police found the bodies of 15 African migrants who appeared to have been shot dead in the same region, security sources said at the time.
They said another eight migrants had been wounded in that incident and that it was not clear who had attacked the migrants or which countries they had originated from.
Sudan’s foreign minister said the migrants from the Nov. 15 incident were also Sudanese and that 16, not 15, had been killed. He said the Egyptian police had killed them.
“We can confirm (that) Egyptian police killed 16 Sudanese people as they tried to go to Israel and we will (follow up with) Egyptian authorities investigating this case,” the minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, told Sudan’s parliament on Monday.
Reporting by Youssry Ahmad and Mostafa Hashem; Additional reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Richard Balmforth