Thursday 5 January 2006 07:36.
Jan 5, 2005 (CAIRO) — Egypt has delayed a plan to deport more than 600 Sudanese refugees Thursday, the UN refugee agency said amid continued wrangling over a raid against Sudanese protestors that left 28 people dead.
Egyptian riot police conducts a Sudanese refugee with his suitcase to a bus prepared to evacuate them to a detention centre (AP).
"They will postpone the deportations that were planned for tomorrow," Astrid van Genderen Stort, a spokesperson for the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees, said.
The deportations will be put back by three days, she said.
Egypt arrested over 2,000 Sudanese refugees and asylum-seekers in the wake of last week’s violent clashes that left some 28 Sudanese dead and hundreds injured and has been holding them in military camps around the city.
"We have appealed for days now to have access to the people in the military centres, so we are going to get this access tomorrow, apparently," Astrid said.
"We will have access for three days to assess the status of the people in the centres, to assess their legal status and to see if there are people that are in need of international protection," she added.
The Egyptian authorities had said they would begin deporting some 654 Sudanese on Thursday.
Human rights groups have expressed concern for the safety of those being returned, many of whom lost their documents when Egyptian security forces stormed the park where they had been protesting for months.