Ex-defence minister Tantawi, parliament speaker attempt to resolve Nubian Toshka crisis

Ahram Online , Monday 21 Nov 2016

Tantawi, who is of Nubian origin, met with Aswan officials in an attempt to resolve the issue

Egypt’s former defence minister Hussein Tantawi and parliamentary speaker Ali Abdel-Aal held a meeting on Monday with top Aswan governorate officials to discuss possible solutions to an ongoing sit-in by Nubians protesting the allocation of land in their area to non-Nubians, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

Abdel-Aal and Tantawi, who is of Nubian origin, met with Aswan’s governor and parliamentary member Yasseen Abdel-Sabour as the sit-in, held near Abu Simbel, enters its third day.  

Abu Simbel is former general Tantawi’s birthplace.

On Sunday, around 150 Egyptian Nubians continued their sit-in for the second day on the Abu Simbel-Aswan highway, protesting the allocation of land to non-Nubians.

Security forces refused to allow them entry to Toshka, the area in which the lands have been allocated by the state to be sold to investors.

Three protesters were injured as security forces attempted to disperse dozens of demonstrators who blocked a number of major highways and railways in Aswan. 

In August, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued a presidential decree allocating 922 feddans — including land in Toshka — to the new Toshka development project.

In October, the Egyptian government announced that it would sell parts of the new Toshka development project in an auction for investment as part of the "1.5 million feddan" national mega-project.

Saturday’s sit-in comes after a long history of grievance by Nubians who have long objected to the selling of their land, citing Article 236 of the constitution, which states that "the state must work on developing and implementing projects to bring the residents of Nubia back to their original areas and develop them within 10 years in the manner organised by law."

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