(ARCHIVED PHOTO) A number of africans arrested over attempted illegal immigration near Alexandria - Photo Courtesy of Military Spokesperson Facebook.
CAIRO – 16 April 2017: In a crackdown on illegal immigration, Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced the arrest of dozens of suspects, including criminal elements, brokers, boat owners and fishermen, according to statement released Sunday.
Among the suspects are two men who have been organizing illegal immigration trips through “using unsafe platforms that endanger the lives of their passengers”, read the statement. Another four persons were arrested for forging papers and passports for young people aiming to travel to Europe.
The ministry also announced the capture of 29 people, carrying the nationality of an Arab country, who admitted that they illegally entered Egypt through the desert.
The crackdown is “a continuation of the efforts of the Public Security Department in coordination with the security directorates to combat the phenomenon of illegal immigration,” the ministry said.
In recent years, Egypt has been a transit point for thousands of migrants and refugees crossing into Europe through the Mediterranean. A rising number of Egyptians had also resorted to illegal smuggling boats as a cheaper and more accessible way to leave the country.
By the end of 2016, Minister of Immigration, Nabila Makram, stated that Egypt ranked first in illegal immigration rates worldwide.
To deal with this growing phenomenon and prevent a tragic number of migrant deaths, following the drowning of a migrant boat that carried almost 600 people near Egypt’s North Coast, Egypt’s Parliament passed a bill to combat illegal immigration and human smuggling last year.
The bill stipulated a penalty between EGP 50,000 and EGP 200,000 and a prison sentence for mediators, brokers, smugglers and anyone who contributes to this “crime”.
Egypt’s Armed Forces spokesperson announced in January that Egypt had prevented 12,192 people from different nationalities from illegally entering or leaving Egypt in 2016.
The country’s border police had also arrested almost 400 illegal migrants from different nationalities along the southern and western borders, between February 21 and March 13 this year, the spokesperson said last month.
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