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Egyptian authorities arrest 16 Sudanese miners: eyewitness

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September 13, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - The Egyptian authorities on Tuesday have arrested 16 Sudanese gold prospectors inside Sudan’s territory and seized their equipment, a miner who managed to escape arrest told Sudan Tribune.

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Workers break rocks at the Wad Bushara gold mine near Abu Delelq in Gadarif State, Wad Bushara on 27 April 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Hassan Ahmed Ibrahim said an armed Egyptian force on board three four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser vehicles on Tuesday has raided the Al-Obeidiya mine inside Wadi al-Alaki and arrested 16 miners.

He said the detainees include 2 of the mine owners and 14 workers, adding the Egyptian force seized 16 empty water barrels beside a truck.

“We don’t know where they took the [barrels and the truck] but we reported the incident to the Bawabat Al-Ali [police station]” he said

Meanwhile, the Egyptian authorities have tried the Sudanese miners who were arrested last week and set fines on each one of them ranging from 500 to 800 Egyptian Pound (EGP).

A brother of one of the miners by the name of Ahmed Ibrahim told Sudan Tribune that the Egyptian authorities allowed his brother to contact his family, saying he told them that they have been tried in Tana, a town east of Aswan.

“They were convicted of carrying out mining activities inside Egypt’s territory and the majority of the convicts are from North Darfur and Dar Hamid area in North Kordofan,” he added.

Last week, multiple press reports said Egyptian troops on September 3rd have penetrated four kilometres into the Sudanese territory and chased Sudanese gold prospectors south of the disputed Halayb triangle, pointing they arrested 70 of them near Al-Alaki area in Abu Tebak valley.

Also, a resident of North Darfur state who survived the Egyptian raid on Wednesday told Sudan Tribune that 41 gold prospectors, mostly from North Darfur and North Kordofan states, have been kidnapped by the Egyptian troops.

In August 2015, Egyptian authorities released 37 Sudanese gold prospectors after being held for 5 months on charges of cross-border infiltration. But their properties estimated at eight million dollars are still held by the Egyptian Army.

The seized properties include metal detectors, GPS equipment, satellite phones, a number of sophisticated compasses, amounts of raw gold, 430 cars and generators.

Relations between Sudan and Egypt are strained due to the disputed Halayeb triangle, Sudan’s support to the Ethiopian dam, and the ban of Egyptian agricultural products.

The Halayeb triangle, which includes the three main towns of Halayeb, Abu Ramad and Shalatin, stretches over 21,000 square kilometres. It has been a contentious issue between Egypt and Sudan since 1958, shortly after Sudan gained its independence from the British-Egyptian rule in January 1956.

The area has been under Cairo’s full military control since the mid-1990’s following a Sudanese-backed attempt to kill the former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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