373 Egyptians return from Libya through Salloum border crossing

Ahram Online , Monday 31 Aug 2015

978 people have crossed into Libya through the Salloum border crossing in the last 24 hours

File Photo: Egyptians entering from Libya, Salloum border, August 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

As many as 373 Egyptians have entered Egypt from Libya via the Salloum border crossing in the Matrouh governorate over the past 24 hours according to a statement by General Hisham Lutfi, assistant to the interior minister.

In a press statement, Lutfi announced that of the 373 Egyptians, 310 had originally entered Libya legally while the remaining 63 had entered illegally.

He added that 978 people, including 253 Egyptians and 725 Libyans, passed into Libya in the past 24 via the Salloum crossing.

Meanwhile, Egypt's border guards foiled the attempts of 172 people to enter Libya illegally on Monday via desert roads in the area.

The 172 people are Egyptians bar one Sudanese. They come from various governorates in Egypt including Minya, Sohag, Beheira, Fayoum and Qena.

They were referred for prosecution pending further investigation.

On Wednesday the governor of Matrouh governorate met with Libya's interior minister Mustafa El-Dabbash to discuss the final proceedings ahead of reopening the Musaid border crossing between the two countries.

The border has been closed following the disappearance of Libyan security forces on 15 August. The reason for their disappearance is still unknown.

For decades Libya has been a major destination for Egyptian migrant workers due to its once booming oil economy, geographical proximity and open borders.

Instability in Libya has prompted tens of thousands of Egyptian workers to return to Egypt, though many have remained.

Egypt renewed warnings to its citizens to avoid travelling to Libya in April. The country remains dangerous and Islamic State operatives beheaded 20 Coptic Egyptian migrant workers in February.

Libya is a hot spot for would-be migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean and enter Europe.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that between 330,000 and 1.5 million Egyptians we working in Libya before the NATO-backed war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and the subsequent unrest.

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