Egypt working to release detained students in Kyrgyzstan violence: Foreign ministry

Ahram Online , Monday 20 May 2024

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a consular mission has received four out of the eight Egyptian students who were detained by police following recent clashes in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital.



In a statement on Monday, the ministry said that the consular mission is actively working to secure the release of the remaining four students.

Violence erupted on Friday when mobs targeted several university hostels in the city, allegedly triggered by a previous altercation between Kyrgyz students and Egyptian medical students.

A video purportedly showing the altercation circulated widely on social media.

According to student accounts, the mobs forcefully entered the hostels, breaking doors and windows, and attacking foreign students, particularly those from India and Pakistan.

The clashes resulted in at least 29 injuries, as reported by Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Health. The Kyrgyz government, however, has confirmed no fatalities.

Consular mission dispatched

According to the foreign ministry, the consular mission visited a building where 600 Egyptian students reside to assess their well-being and ensure their safety.

The mission coordinated with Kyrgyz authorities to provide comprehensive protection for the students, both within their residences and during their movements, read the statement.

To guarantee the students' security, the mission requested regular police patrols in the area.

Furthermore, the mission offered guidance and advice to the students, emphasizing the importance of avoiding late outings, especially when alone, and urged them to follow instructions provided by local law enforcement.

The consular mission will remain in Kyrgyzstan for several days, conducting further meetings with Egyptian students and community members to ensure their safety, the ministry said.

The mission will also maintain continuous communication with Kyrgyz authorities at all levels to ensure the provision of necessary protection and care for the students.

The ministry advised Egyptian students to adhere to local laws, avoid risky situations, and maintain the reputation of Egyptian citizens abroad.

‘Stay indoors’

In a statement on Monday, Egypt's Minister of Emigration Soha Gendy advised Egyptian students in Kyrgyzstan to stay indoors and study online for one week.

The embassies of Pakistan and India in Kyrgyzstan have also cautioned their students to remain indoors, while the Saudi Embassy urged its nationals to stay vigilant and avoid crowded places.

Gendy urged the students to closely follow updates from the Egyptian embassy and adhere to the instructions provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Science in Kyrgyzstan.

She expressed confidence that the educational situation would return to normal in the near future and assured that her ministry is coordinating with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to monitor the situation until stability is restored.

How it started?

Ahmed Helmy, a member of the General Union of Egyptians Abroad and the Arab Students Union in Kyrgyzstan, stated that the situation escalated when local Kyrgyz residents attacked the hostels housing Egyptian students.

The violence erupted after a video depicting a quarrel between Egyptian students and locals spread on social media, he confirmed.

In response, Kyrgyz police detained several Egyptians over suspicion of hooliganism, according to AKIpress News Agency.

Helmy said the Egyptian students, who were involved in the initial altercation, could face deportation.

Nearly 1,500 Egyptians are currently studying in Bishkek, he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan assured that the situation in Bishkek is "absolutely calm and fully under control," with necessary measures in place to ensure security and maintain peace and stability.

Repatriations, diplomatic tensions

In response to the violence, Pakistan has repatriated hundreds of its students who wished to leave Bishkek due to the reported attacks.

Pakistani students shared harrowing stories of hiding without food out of fear of being targeted.

Pakistan plans to organize further flights to bring back all students who wish to leave Kyrgyzstan, AP cited the Pakistani Ministry of Interior Ministry as saying on Saturday.

The repatriated students indicated that foreign students have been attacked in their residential flats, with locals searching for and beating them.

The student stated that no place is safe; students are being hunted down and beaten on the streets.

Pakistan said its embassy in Bishkek was in contact with the Kyrgyz government to ensure the safety and security of its nationals.

Pakistan also summoned a Kyrgyz diplomat on Saturday to protest the alleged attacks on its citizens.

Further instructions to Egyptians

Right after the eruption of clashes, the Egyptian community in Kyrgyzstan advised students to refrain from leaving their residences for any reason and to avoid standing near windows or opening curtains.

They urged anyone experiencing problems to immediately contact security authorities.

The community also recommended refraining from turning on lights or opening windows after sunset and minimizing movement within residences.

Students living in their own apartments were advised not to open doors to anyone, even if they appeared in uniform or military attire.

In its Monday statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Emigration said it has received distress calls and inquiries from parents of students regarding the situation at a university in Kyrgyzstan.

Gendi commended the decisive measures taken by Kyrgyz authorities to protect students and restore calm on the university campus.

She emphasized that continuous and direct communication with Egyptian students in Kyrgyzstan is being maintained through social media channels.

Short link: