Sudan union urges expulsion of Egyptian journalists over entry-ban

Sudan union urges expulsion of Egyptian journalists over entry-ban
The Sudanese journalists' union is calling for the expulsion of Egyptian journalists from the country after Cairo refused entry to two Sudanese journalists who had travelled to Egypt.
3 min read
26 April, 2017
Sudan's journalists' union is urging Khartoum to expel Egyptian reporters from the country [AFP]

Sudan's pro-government journalists' union has urged Khartoum to expel Egyptian reporters from the country after Cairo refused entry to two Sudanese journalists who had travelled to Egypt.

Tuesday's call comes with Khartoum and Cairo trying to improve their ties, which deteriorated after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting opposition fighters.

The Sudanese Journalists' Union said Cairo had denied entry to two Sudanese journalists and deported them back home, and in response it demanded the expulsion of all Egyptian journalists based in Sudan.

The union named the two deported Sudanese journalists as columnist Al-Tahir Satti and reporter Eman Kamaleddin.

A Sudanese journalist told Egyptian website Mada Masr that Satti was likely banned as a result of his criticism of Egyptian authorities, as well as his coverage of the conflict over the disputed territory of Halayeb and Shalateen.

In an article published by Sudan's al-Intibaha newspaper, Satti described being taken to a State Security Agency office at the airport, where he was interrogated briefly, before Egyptian intelligence services issued his deportation order.

Kamaleddin was deported from Cairo airport on Monday night, just 24 hours after Satti was refused entry into Egypt, the union said. Sudanese media also reported the two had been denied entry into Egypt.

Atef Mokhtar, the head of al-Sudani newspaper where Kamaleddin works, speculated that the reason behind her deportation could have been an article she recently wrote about an Egyptian military base in Eritrea.

"This is a clear targeting of all Sudanese journalists," the union said in a statement.

"The Egyptian intelligence is trying to blame Sudanese journalists for the failure of Egyptian policy towards Sudan."

The union urged its members to stop travelling to Egypt even for medical checkups, and visit countries that "respected" Sudanese journalists.

"The union is calling on the government to respond in similar fashion by expelling all Egyptian media representatives based in Sudan, including Egyptian state media journalists," it said.

"It also urges the authorities to ban all Egyptian publications from selling in Sudan, and orders Sudanese television and radio networks to stop broadcasting Egyptian news."

Relations between neighbours Cairo and Khartoum have been tense in recent months after Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting Sudanese opposition figures fighting his troops.

The Egyptian media has also accused Khartoum of offering refuge to members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was declared a "terrorist group" by Cairo following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in a 2013 military coup, led by then-defence-minister and current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sudan's support for Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam is another point of contention between the two countries, as Egypt worries it would affect its share of the Nile waters, which supply more than 90 percent of its water needs.

However, the two countries are now engaged in high-level diplomatic initiatives to improve their relations, with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visiting Khartoum last week for a talk with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour.

Agencies contributed to this report