September 10, 2017 (EL-FASHER) – The Egyptian authorities have transferred dozens of Sudanese gold prospectors to Aswan and Cairo for trial, a miner who escaped from Abu Ramad prison told Sudan Tribune.
- Workers break rocks at the Wad Bushara gold mine near Abu Delelq in Gadarif State, Wad Bushara on 27 April 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Multiple press reports said Egyptian troops on September 3rd have penetrated four kilometres into the Sudanese territory and chased Sudanese gold prospectors south of the disputed Halayb triangle, pointing they arrested 70 of them near Al-Alaki area in Abu Tebak valley.
Also, a resident of North Darfur state who survived the Egyptian raid on Wednesday told Sudan Tribune that 41 gold prospectors, mostly from North Darfur and North Kordofan states, have been kidnapped by the Egyptian troops.
Badr al-Din Badawi, a miner who was arrested during the raid told Sudan Tribune via a satellite phone that he managed to escape from Abu Ramad prison as the Egyptian authorities were transferring the gold prospectors to prisons in Cairo and Aswan in preparation for their appearance before the court.
He pointed out that the Egyptian troops allowed some miners to contact their families and the governor of the Red Sea state to notify them that they have been detained at Abu Ramad prison.
“The Egyptian troops took miners out of Abu Ramad prison at 10:00 pm on Saturday to transfer them to Aswan or Cairo for trial,” he said.
Badawi appealed to the Sudanese authorities at the state and federal level to move quickly, saying “the miners were kidnapped from within Sudanese territory”.
“The government must come here to determine where this territory belongs …the [federal] government imposes taxes on us through the government of the Red Sea state,” he said.
He further disclosed that the Egyptian troops which attacked the miners have burned 14 camps and seized all their equipment.
In August 2015, Egyptian authorities released 37 Sudanese gold prospectors after being held for 5 months on charges of cross-border infiltration. But their properties estimated at eight million dollars are still held by the Egyptian Army.
The seized properties include metal detectors, GPS equipment, satellite phones, a number of sophisticated compasses, amounts of raw gold, 430 cars and generators.
Relations between Sudan and Egypt are strained due to the disputed Halayeb triangle, Sudan’s support to the Ethiopian dam, and the ban of Egyptian agricultural products.
The Halayeb triangle, which includes the three main towns of Halayeb, Abu Ramad and Shalatin, stretches over 21,000 square kilometres. It has been a contentious issue between Egypt and Sudan since 1958, shortly after Sudan gained its independence from the British-Egyptian rule in January 1956.
The area has been under Cairo’s full military control since the mid-1990’s following a Sudanese-backed attempt to kill the former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak.