CAIRO: A new survey finds that 75,000 Bedouin in Egypt do not hold Egyptian citizenship, according to reports by All Headline News (AHN). The government granted some of the Sinai tribes identification papers but not all.
One of the allegedly ignored tribes is Al Azazma in southern Sinai, a tribe divided between Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. The Al Azazma own all of the land from Bier Sana a to the Araba valley west of Egypt, in addition of some land in the Sinai desert.
“The Al Azazma are about 12,000 [people] and the government treats us as drug dealers and spies, just because the tribe branch in Palestine were forced to hold Israeli citizenship Selim Suliman, the tribal head told local Al Khamis newspaper.
Among the tribes ignored by the government are Al Rashida in Halayeb and Shalatin, which originally came from Qatar and moved later to Sudan and Egypt where they settled around the Nile, southern Egypt and parts of the Red Sea, AHN noted. Al Tafilat, located in southern Sinai and Malaha in Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border are also tribes that have been denied assistance.
The issue began in 1906 when the first Taba Treaty was signed between Turkey and Egypt, the Treaty said that all those who live in Egypt must hold Egyptian citizenship, and when the English army did the first census in 1924, all the tribes were given identification papers except those five tribes, another tribal leader was reported to have told reporters.
We are Egyptian in spite of the government s negative attitude towards us, we are patriots despite of the way we are treated by the state security and we ask President Mubarak to help us out, Suliman added.
We have no schools, no hospitals, we are a big family where the elders teach the young how to read and write, a Malaha tribe member told AHN in Cairo.