Egypt tightens border control
Egyptian border guards prevented more than 12,000 people from illegally entering or leaving the country in 2016, according to a January 2017 statement by the military. In recent years, a growing number of migrants have attempted the perilous sea crossing to Italy from the African coasts of Libya and Egypt. Crossings are often organized by migrant traffickers in rickety boats that capsize repeatedly, leading to many deaths.
The military listed the “arrest of 12,192
people of various nationalities and a total of
434 cases of illegal migration” in a statement of its achievements from 2016. A boat carrying about 450 people capsized off the Egyptian coast in September. About 202 bodies were subsequently recovered from the sea and 169 people rescued. Some 320 migrants and refugees drowned off the Greek island of Crete in June 2016.
A Reuters investigation published in December 2016 found that a fishing boat carrying hundreds of migrants that capsized in April 2016 had set sail from Egypt, not Libya, as previously reported. About 500 people died, the largest loss of human life in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016.
To continue combating this problem, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi approved a new law in November 2016 aimed at curbing illegal immigration and cracking down on human smuggling. Al-Sisi has also urged parliament and the government to work together to issue legislation against illegal migration. He directed his aides to accelerate a government program offering assistance to small businesses and young entrepreneurs in areas where illegal migration is rampant.
Sources: Ahram Online, Reuters