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Egypt Frees 164 Emigres From Sudan

January 13, 2006|From Associated Press

CAIRO — Egypt has released 164 Sudanese migrants who were detained last month when police evicted them from a city park in a violent operation that brought international condemnation.

The spokeswoman for the Office of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Astrid van Genderen Stort, said the Sudanese were released Wednesday on the agency's recommendation because they were registered with it either as refugees or asylum seekers.

Those released were among about 2,000 Sudanese migrants who camped in a Cairo park for three months to protest what they saw as a failure by the UNHCR to resettle them. After hours of negotiations and spraying by water cannon, police with truncheons evicted them from the park and detained them.

Security officials said 25 migrants died, including women and children. More than 70 police officers were wounded. The Interior Ministry said 12 people died and blamed the violence on the squatters' refusal to leave. International and local rights groups accused the police of using unnecessary force.

The migrants do not want to return to Sudan. The UNHCR found that many of those camped in the park did not qualify as political refugees and were economic migrants.

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