Mexican FM to meet Egypt’s Sisi, calls for thorough investigation

2015-09-16 14:06
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (File: AFP)

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (File: AFP)

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Cairo - Mexico's foreign minister said she would meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Wednesday and demand thorough investigation of a mistaken army attack that killed eight Mexicans in Egypt's western desert.

Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu travelled on Tuesday to Cairo to bring the survivors and remains of the victims back to Mexico.

The Egyptian army killed eight Mexican tourists and four Egyptians on Sunday in a mistaken aerial bombing in the country's western desert while pursuing nearby militants.

"In Mexico we are very concerned about what happened and very indignant," said Massieu at a hospital just outside Cairo where six Mexican survivors were still recovering. "This has been an unprecedented incident.

She said she would meet Sisi to discuss the next steps.

"We are looking for [the investigation] to establish responsibility and clarify what happened," said Massieu.

The group of 22 had parked their four 4x4 vehicles off-road on Sunday for a barbecue near the Bahariya oasis, a tourist site in the western desert, when army aircraft suddenly began shelling them from above, security sources and survivors said.

As the tourists tried to flee, forces on the ground fired on them, Egyptian security sources said.

Open letter

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri penned an open letter to the Mexican people on Tuesday that ran in Mexican newspapers on Wednesday expressing his condolences and sympathies, but offered no apology.

"I am deeply troubled that some people have chosen to exploit this tragic event to allege that Egyptian law enforcement officials have no strict rules of engagement, act indiscriminately," the letter read.

The Egyptian army has released no statement acknowledging the incident, though an earlier statement by the interior ministry said it resulted from a joint police-military operation pursuing nearby militants.

"The Egyptian authorities are unequivocally committed to uncovering the precise details of this tragedy. The chain of events is still confusing and unclear," Shukri's letter said.

Egypt, the Arab world's biggest nation, is battling an Islamist insurgency that has intensified since mid-2013 when then-army chief Sisi ousted president Mohamed Morsi, a top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, after mass unrest against his rule.

Read more on:    abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  mexico  |  north africa

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