Egypt Extends State Of Emergency To Three Years

Egypt’s President and current Chairperson of the African Union, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, takes part in a joint press conference with Senegalese President at the Presidential Palace in Dakar for an official visit on April 12, 2019. PHOTO: SEYLLOU / AFP

 

Egypt’s state of emergency is set to reach the three-year mark by April after the government announced it would extend it by another three months from Monday next week.

The North African country has been under a state of emergency since April 2017 bombings of two Coptic churches by an Islamic State group affiliate that killed more than 40 people.

The extension comes nine years after the January 2011 uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, who had also ruled for decades under a state of emergency.

“The president of Egypt ordered the extension of the state of emergency nationwide for three months starting Monday, January 27,” said the official gazette on Sunday.

Under a state of emergency, police powers such as arresting and holding citizens are extended and constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and assembly are curtailed.

Egypt has for years been battling an Islamist insurgency, which surged following the 2013 military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.

The attacks have been largely concentrated in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula but occasionally struck elsewhere in the country.

In February 2018, Egypt launched a large-scale nationwide anti-militant operation.

Rights groups say the state of emergency coupled with the government’s effective protest ban since 2013 has helped it in crushing dissent.

In September, rare minor protests broke out in Egypt triggered by online calls for Sisi’s removal.

Some 4,000 people were arrested in the following weeks, according to local rights groups.

Activists have called it one of the worst waves of a crackdown against any dissent that was launched when Sisi officially took power in 2014.

AFP

Egypt Arrests Four Journalists Allegedly Linked With Outlawed Group

 

 

 

Egypt has accused four staff of Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu whom it arrested for spreading “false news” and working with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Police raided their Cairo office Tuesday and formally arrested them Wednesday at a time of rising tensions between the rival nations.

The interior ministry charged that the news bureau was a front for a “Turkish troll farm … intent on broadcasting false news about the country’s political, economic, security and rights situation”.

It published the full names of those arrested — three Egyptian journalists and one Turkish citizen who handled the office’s finances.

The ministry said the employees were working “with the aim of distorting the image” of Egypt and said their cases had been referred to the prosecution.

Turkey has summoned Egypt’s charge d’affaires to protest the raid.

The Turkish and Egyptian governments are fierce rivals Since Ankara strongly supported Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood administration that was overthrown by a military ouster in 2013.

Egypt outlawed the Islamist group in the same year.

Ankara and Cairo are also on opposing sides of the Libyan conflict.

Turkey supports the UN-recognised government in Tripoli, which is under siege from forces loyal to eastern-based general Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The United States, an ally of both Turkey and Egypt, said it had seen news reports on the raid and arrests.

“If true, we call on the Egyptian government to release the detained journalists and allow for a free and open press in Egypt,” a State Department spokesperson said.

New York-based rights group Committee to Protect Journalists slammed the arrests, saying “journalists operating in Egypt should not have to work in fear that they will be used to settle political scores between countries”.

“Authorities must immediately release the Anadolu News Agency staffers arrested yesterday and stop using false news charges to harass and silence the media,” CPJ added.

Egypt ranks third in the world in terms of the number of journalists in detention, behind China and Turkey, according to CPJ

AFP

Egyptian Publisher Gets Five Years In Jail Over Israeli Novel

File photo of a man in prison.

 

The founder of an Egyptian publishing house was sentenced to five years in prison for distributing an Arabic version of a controversial Israeli novel, his brother said Tuesday.

The novel entitled “The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel”, by Israeli writer Uri Bar-Joseph, portrays Ashraf Marwan, the son-in-law of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, as a spy for the Jewish state.

Khaled Lotfi has been on trial in a military court since 2018 for publishing an Arabic version of the book, two years earlier.

The publisher, accused of having “divulged military secrets”, was sentenced to five years in prison despite appealing against an initial ruling, his brother Mahmoud Lotfi told AFP.

“There is no other recourse but a presidential pardon,” he said.

Marwan, who also worked as an adviser to president Anwar Sadat after the death of Nasser in 1970, died in 2007 in London in mysterious circumstances.

Egyptian authorities arranged a grand funeral and Marwan was hailed as a hero.

A 2018 film based on the book, titled “The Angel”, was met with outrage by Egyptian media, which slated it as a manipulation of history.

AFP

Buhari Returns To Nigeria After ASWAN Forum In Egypt

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday returned to Abuja, the nation’s capital after his trip to Egypt.

The President in Egypt attended the ASWAN Forum on Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa.

The forum held on Wednesday, December 11 and Thursday, December 12.

Buhari on the side-line of the forum met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdelfattah el-Sisi and they both pledged to collaborate to eradicate the menace of terrorism in parts of Africa.

President Buhari noted that countries of the West African sub-region were already in close collaboration towards combating terrorism by setting up a Multinational Task Force.

He said since terrorism was a worldwide phenomenon, more collaborative efforts were needed to rein in the menace.

The Egyptian leader briefed his Nigerian counterpart on the efforts of his government on counter-terrorism, particularly on the Sinai and the borders with Libya.

He also reiterated his willingness to synergise with the Nigerian government on all fronts to conquer the “evil of terrorism”.

Buhari, Egypt’s El-Sisi Pledge Joint Action Against Terrorism

President Muhammadu Buhari, his Egyptian counterpart, Abdelfattah el-Sisi, and others at a meeting in Egypt on December 12, 2019.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari and his Egyptian counterpart Abdelfattah el-Sisi have pledged to collaborate to eradicate the menace of terrorism in parts of Africa.

Both leaders made the commitment on Thursday during a meeting on the sidelines of the Aswan Forum on Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa taking place in Egypt.

President Buhari noted that countries of the West African sub-region were already in close collaboration towards combatting terrorism by setting up a Multinational Task Force.

He said since terrorism was a worldwide phenomenon, more collaborative efforts were needed to rein in the menace.

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“Together with other West African leaders, we are working hard to ensure that terrorism is eradicated,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

He added, “It is also important that the conflicts in North of Africa, particularly in Libya do not frustrate our efforts. We seek your cooperation in this regard.”

In his remarks, President el-Sisi conveyed his appreciation to his Nigerian counterpart for honouring his invitation to participate in the gathering and for his contributions.

He also praised President Buhari for his leadership qualities and pledged to deepen cooperation and partnership with Nigeria in all areas of common interest.

The Egyptian leader briefed his Nigerian counterpart on the efforts of his government on counter-terrorism, particularly on the Sinai and the borders with Libya.

He reiterated his willingness to synergise with the Nigerian government on all fronts to conquer the “evil of terrorism”.

President el-Sisi also invited President Buhari to the opening of the new Capital and the Grand International Museum in October 2020.

The meeting was attended by top government officials in Nigeria and Egypt.

PHOTOS: Buhari, Fintiri, Two Other Governors Depart Abuja For Egypt

 

President Muhammadu Buhari accompanied by Governors Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa; Godwin Obaseki of Edo and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State on Tuesday left Abuja the nation’s capital for Aswan in Egypt.

The President is attending Peace and Development Forum designed to set “an agenda for sustainable peace and development in Africa.”

The forum which is scheduled to hold from December the 11th to the 12th is an initiative to address the interconnections between peace and development in Africa while promoting Africa-led solutions through strengthening policies and practices.

The initiative is being launched by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in his capacity as the chairman of the African Union (AU) and as an advocate of post-conflict reconstruction and development in Africa.

See photos below:

Buhari Heads To Egypt For Peace And Development Forum

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow depart from Abuja the nation’s capital for Aswan in Egypt, to attend a forum designed to set “an agenda for sustainable peace and development in Africa.”

The forum which holds from December the 11th to the 12th is an initiative to address the interconnections between peace and development in Africa while promoting Africa-led solutions through strengthening policies and practices.

The initiative is being launched by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in his capacity as the chairman of the African Union (AU) and as an advocate of post-conflict reconstruction and development in Africa.

READ ALSO: Declare State Of Emergency In Power Sector, Senate President Tells Buhari

The gathering is expected to bring together heads of state and government, leaders from regional and international organizations, financial institutions, private sector, and civil societies as well as scholars, among others.

The President will be accompanied by Governors Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, Godwin Obaseki of Edo and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, as well as the minister of Defence, National Security Adviser and director-general of the NIA.

Egypt Opens Jail After UN Report On Inmate Morsi’s Death

A picture taken during a guided tour organized by the Egypt’s State Information Service on November 11, 2019, shows an inmate working at a metalsmithing workshop in Tora prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP

 

Egyptian authorities Monday opened up Tora prison in Cairo for a media tour, following a UN report on the “brutal” conditions in which jailed ex-president Mohamed Morsi was held before his death.

In a rare tour of the sprawling jail complex, journalists were shown an exhibition of furniture made by inmates, a farm with cows and ostriches, and a brief football match between prisoners.

The guided tour comes ahead of a mission to Geneva by Egyptian officials for a review on Wednesday before the United Nations Human Rights Council.

It was arranged in response to a stinging review last week by an independent panel of UN experts that blasted conditions in Tora.

The experts said the death of ousted Islamist president Morsi, who was held in Tora for five years, could amount to a “state-sanctioned arbitrary killing”.

The former president died in June after collapsing in a Cairo courtroom while on trial.

“Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detention in the Tora prison complex,” the experts said in a statement.

His death “after enduring those conditions could amount to a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing”, the experts added. They also warned that thousands are at risk of death in the same prison.

On the media tour, abuse charges in Tora were dismissed by politicians and personalities that included for example retired ex-national football goalkeeper turned television pundit Ahmed Shobeir.

“This prison is more of a seaside resort now compared to what it used to be,” Mostafa Bakry, a pro-Sisi parliamentarian, contended.

He told AFP that inmates were treated with dignity, pointing to a newly-mowed football pitch.

On documented allegations of abuse, Bakry said these were foreign-originated charges designed to sow chaos, echoing the common response of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The former head of the army turned president led the military’s ouster of Morsi in 2013.

“Inmates are not sitting in their cells. They can play soccer or exercise and there are a lot of activities for them,” said Alaa Abed, a former policeman and current head of parliament’s human rights committee.

Other senior officials declined to speak on the record during the tour, while AFP was prevented from talking directly with inmates.

The family of prominent human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, who was detained in September, said on social media they were prevented from seeing him Monday because of the media tour.

Rights groups have regularly accused Egyptian authorities of severe violations including torture, overcrowding and medical negligence in jails.

Some 4,000 people, including lawyers, activists, professors and journalists, were detained in a wave of arrests following rare anti-Sisi protests in September, according to local rights groups.

Nigeria, Egypt Face Tough Draw At ITTF Team World Cup

A file photo of Nigerian table tennis star, Aruna Quadri.

 

 

Africa’s representatives at the 2019 ITTF Team World Cup – Nigeria and Egypt have received a tough draw at the tournament.

Both teams will battle world and Olympic champions – China in the first round of the competition holding at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Tokyo, which recently hosted Rugby World Cup to next year’s keenly awaited Olympic Games, Japan is very much at the centre of the sporting world right now as the anticipation and excitement that come with staging the most prestigious sports event of all are certainly not shifting away from these shores.

Before Tokyo 2020 is duly paraded across the nation next summer, there is a very important test event taking place – 2019 ITTF Team World Cup between Wednesday, November 6 and Sunday, November 10.

Twelve of the strongest national associations, in each of the men’s and women’s competitions, are battling for glory, which will also be the venue for next year’s big event and a dress rehearsal for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The roadmap for the first two days of the Team World Cup was confirmed on Tuesday at the draw which split the teams into groups of three with the top two positions of each group proceeding to the knockout rounds.

 

African men champion, Nigeria will play the opening match in Group A against China on November 6 while their second group match will be against Chinese Taipei on November 7.

Aruna Quadri will lead the Nigeria team alongside Olajide Omotayo, Bode Abiodun, Segun Toriola and home-based Azeez Solanke.

Like Nigeria, Egypt will also begin their campaign in Group A against China while their second match will be against Ukraine.

African Games gold medal-winning Egyptian team would be led by the continent’s women singles champion – Dina Meshref, as well as Yousra Helmy.

Others are Farah Abdel-Aziz, Reem El-Eracky, as well as teenage sensation, Marwa Alhodaby.

As first and second seeds in both men’s and women’s competitions – China and Japan are the favourites to meet in Sunday’s finals.

Their strongest challengers among the men’s teams are Germany (thrid) and Korea Republic (fourth), while Chinese Taipei (third) and Hong Kong, China (fourth) are the other top seeds in the women’s team groups.

Egypt Army Reports Killing 83 Militants In North Sinai

 

Egypt’s army said Monday it had killed 83 militants in clashes in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamic State group affiliate has waged a long-running insurgency.

Security forces “eliminated 77 takfiris”, referring to Sunni Muslim extremists, who were found with stacks of weapons and ammunition in north and central Sinai, the army said.

Six other “highly dangerous” militants were killed in shootouts in the region, the army said in a statement on a nationwide anti-militant operation between September 28 and November 4.

Three soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting, the statement added, without elaborating.

About 61 “criminals, wanted individuals and suspects” were arrested, it said.

Security forces also destroyed dozens of hideouts and vehicles as part of the ongoing operation, according to the statement.

Egypt has for years been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the military’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests.

In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants, mainly focused on North Sinai.

The operation also targets other areas including the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya.

The latest army figures brings the death toll of suspected militants in the Sinai region to more than 830.

About 60 security personnel have been killed since the start of the offensive.

Following the death of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi late last month, the group’s North Sinai affiliate has pledged allegiance to his successor, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi.

Join Us In Calling The World To Take Action Against Boko Haram, Osinbajo Tells Egypt

Osinbajo Proffers Solutions To Challenges Facing Legal Profession In Nigeria

 

A concerted action by countries around the world is crucial towards tackling terrorism in the Sahel region, as well as the challenges posed by Boko Haram and ISWAP in Africa, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo made this call when he received a delegation of members of Egypt’s Parliament (House of Representatives), led by its Honourable Speaker, Dr. Ali Abdel-Aal Sayed Hamad. The delegation also included the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Assem Hanafy Elseify.

Similarly, speaking on behalf of the government of Egypt, Hamad said Egypt shared the same view as Nigeria that concerted efforts was needed to combat terrorism in the Sahel region.

Prof. Osinbajo, who welcomed the delegation on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, noted that Egypt and Nigeria have enjoyed very good relations over the years.

“Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, we’ve always had friendly relations and cooperation with the Republic of Egypt. We know that this very friendly and brotherly relations will continue.”

On the issue of security challenges on the continent, the Vice President urged for more concerted global action to prevent similar escalating situations in some parts of the Middle East as related to ISIS.

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He said, “We would want to urge that Egypt joins us in calling upon the world, the international community, to immediately see the need for a concerted action against Boko Haram, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), and terrorist groups operating in the Sahel, in particular.

“We think that it is time for that kind of concerted action in the Sahel. And with such concerted action, we believe that we can prevent a situation as seen in some parts of the Middle East where damage to lives and livelihoods was done by ISIS.

The Vice President added that the world should not look away and hope that the problem would disappear, unless world powers come together to tackle it.

“Just as was done in Iraq, where the world powers came together to drive out ISIS, that is the sort of cooperation that we should have now to ensure that we’re able to deal with terrorism, especially terrorism in the Sahel,” he said.

Prof. Osinbajo also stated that Nigeria would continue to join hands with Egypt in promoting religious tolerance and tackling extreme poverty and challenges to social inclusion.

The Vice President further said Nigeria is open to Egypt for more investments, especially in the agri-business, agro-allied value chain, and also in light manufacturing and other such areas; just as he equally noted that Nigerian companies, particularly in the financial sector and industrial investments, are willing to do business in Egypt if given the opportunity.

In the same vein, the Egyptian Parliament speaker delivered a personal message from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to President Buhari and the VP, inviting him for the Africa Investment forum and the inaugural Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Egypt in November and December respectively.

The Vice President said he would convey the message to President Buhari. He also said President Buhari would be briefed on the request to mediate in the issue between Egypt and Ethiopia over the building of the Renaissance Dam project on the Blue Nile River.

“I would certainly ensure that I convey the strong feelings of the Egyptian government on this point to our president, President Muhammadu Buhari, and I believe that, within the auspices of the AU, we would be able to reach a just and fair conclusion. I’m sure that he would work within the AU to find a solution that is fair to all parties,” the VP stated.

Also, Hamad pledged the full support of the Egyptian government for the candidacy of Nigeria’s Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who is running for a second term as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The Vice President had earlier stated that he (Adesina) has done quite well in the first team and that he would do better in the second term.

Speaking further, Hamad noted that, “Egypt and Nigeria are two big nations in Africa in terms of population and capabilities. We also pledge to put our expertise to foster and strengthen economic relations, especially in the economic and energy sector.”

Salah ‘Must Rest’, Says Egypt Coach

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Salzburg at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on October 2, 2019./AFP

 

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah “must rest” and will miss Egypt’s friendly against Botswana on October 14, national team coach Hossam El Badry said Thursday.

The announcement came days after Salah raised eyebrows by changing his Twitter bio to say he only played for Liverpool, removing any mention of his affiliation to Egypt.

Salah finished fourth in the balloting for the FIFA best player award last week, with two of Egypt’s votes rejected by football’s governing body after they were signed in capital letters.

El Badry said he spoke to Salah following a report from the national team doctor on the fitness of the squad’s overseas-based players.

“I agreed with him that it is in his best interests and those of the national team that he rests,” El Badry told local channel MBC Masr.

“He won’t be with us at the training camp for Botswana, but God willing, he will be with us for the official matches.”

Salah scored twice on Wednesday as holders Liverpool defeated Salzburg 4-3 at home in the Champions League group stage.

Salah and the Egyptian FA have butted heads before several times, most prominently when a photo of him was plastered on the squad’s plane ahead of the 2018 World Cup, causing sponsorship problems for the star.

El Badry will take charge of his first match as Egypt coach against Botswana following his appointment last month.

Egypt begin their qualifying campaign for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations at home to Kenya in November.