Displaced Rafah families want higher compensation: Presidential council

Ahram Online , Monday 3 Nov 2014

The Egyptian presidency apologises to North Sinai residents for evacuation due to new military buffer zone

A house (C) is seen before it was blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip October 29 (Photo: Reuters)

A presidential council recently formed by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to meet with tribal elders in Rafah, said on Monday that residents of North Sinai's Rafah want more compensation for evacuations ordered by the Egyptian military in areas close to the border with Gaza.

After meeting with Rafah's tribal elders, the Social Development Council, an advisory committee for Egypt's presidency, said compensations promised for the evacuees must be revised and the heritage of the area safeguarded during military operations.

Last week, Egypt's military decided to form a buffer zone near North Sinai's Rafah to combat Islamic militants and destroy tunnels it says are used by them to smuggle weapons and supplies.

Officials have started evacuating over 1,100 families promising them compensation for three-months rent and proper evaluation of the value of homes and land lost.

Head of the council, Sherif Abul-Naga said residents of the area were "very understanding" but asked for developmental projects such as those being undertaken in Suez to start in Sinai, reported Egypt's state news agency MENA.

Abul-Naga extended the presidency's apology to the evacuees and insisted the move was one the state had hoped never to have to undertake.

The buffer zone became official days after a militant attack on soldiers near Rafah killed 31 Egyptian soldiers.  

El-Sisi, who had urged prompt compensation for the displaced, said on Monday that the cost of reparations for the displaced will be nearly LE1 billion.    

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