Sudanese death toll in Cairo refugee camp hits 25
Several Sudanese migrants injured when Egyptian police violently cleared a ramshackle camp died later from their wounds, raising the death toll from the clash to 25, a security official said today.
Police using water cannons and swinging truncheons evicted more than 1,000 Sudanese men, women and children from a Cairo park early Friday, ending their three-month protest against the U.N. refugee agency's refusal to consider them for refugee status.
The Interior Ministry said Friday that 12 protesters died and 74 policemen were injured, but other officials said 20 people were killed. A security official, speaking Saturday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, said several more protesters had died from injuries, raising the toll to 25.
Yesterday, protest leader Boutrous Deng said 26 Sudanese died, including two women and seven children.
The migrants had camped in the park since September 29th, demanding the UN High Commissioner for Refugees promise to resettle them abroad and interview them to determine their refugee status. At times, as many as 2,000 Sudanese were crammed into the park, about the size of four tennis courts.
The UNHCR stopped hearing the cases of Sudanese seeking refugee status after a January peace deal ended a civil war in the south of their homeland.
The Interior Ministry blamed the violence on the protesters, saying police tried to persuade them to disperse but "the migrants' leaders resorted to incitement and attacks."
In a five-hour showdown, police repeatedly showered the demonstrators with water cannons and negotiated with their leaders, but most migrants refused to leave the park.
The 1,280 migrants were eventually taken by bus to three locations outside Cairo, said the South Center, an independent Sudanese human rights monitoring group. The center condemned "the savage way the security forces" cleared the camp.