Egypt border guards arrest 157 illegal migrants near Libya

Ahram Online , Wednesday 23 Jul 2014

The arrest took place near Egypt's Mediterranean city of Marsa Matrouh and included six Sudanese

Egyptian military and security border guards arrested on Tuesday 157 illegal migrants attempting to infiltrate Libya through Egypt's borders, state news agency MENA said.

Those arrested, who are also accused of being present in a military area off-limits to civilians, include six Sudanese, MENA added. They were caught near the northern coastal city of Marsa Matrouh.

Investigations with military prosecutors are underway.

Libya is a main destination for Egyptian migrants seeking job opportunities overseas, mostly due to geographical proximity and open border policies which, until 2006, had allowed Egyptians to enter and reside there with as little as a valid identification card.

On Tuesday, however, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned firmly against any travel to the North African country amid the extreme violence and deadly militia rivalries that have left at least four Egyptians dead this week in the volatile city of Benghazi, a hotbed of Islamists.

The International Organisation for Migration estimates that 330,000 to 1.5 million Egyptians worked in Libya up until the ongoing unrest that began following the NATO-backed uprising that toppled autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The number of Egyptian expats has sharply dwindled since.

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