Four Egyptians have been identified among the bodies of 10 migrants who were on a boat that capsized this Saturday attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
A rescue team recovered the 10 bodies and rescued 25 others from the boat, which reportedly capsized due to overcrowding off the coast of Borollos village in the Delta governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh. It is understood the boat was heading to travel to Italy.
The migrants included Egyptians, Syrians and Iraqis, local authorities told press. The boat was originally carrying 45 people; 10 bodies were lost at sea and not recovered.
Zidane Minshawi, Director-General of the Kafr El-Sheikh public hospital, said the four dead Egyptian individuals have been named as: Ahmed Abdel Muti Abu Khalil (18) and Islam Magdy Gameel (17) both from Mansoura in Daqahlia; Osama Mahmoud Mohamed Schweeh (18) from Belbees in Sharqia; and Abdul Rahman Mahmoud Ibrahim El-Ashri (20) from Taakha in Daqahlia.
The owner of the boat was also arrested; he has been identified as coming from the town of Edku in Beheira.
The bodies of those identified will now returned to their families, Minshawi told local press. Meanwhile, investigations with the 25 individuals recovered are ongoing.
The recovered bodies also included three children and a woman, who were transferred to Kafr El-Sheikh General Morgue, and the injured were transferred to Balteem Central Hospital.
In September, the International Organisation for Migration announced that 62% of irregular (illegal) migrants that Italy receives are Egyptian minors. Italy has a policy of returning migrants back to their home countries if they are of adult-age and not in clear danger.
Head of the IOM Egypt office Amr Taha said in an interview with Aswat Masriya that Italy received 4,000 Egyptian migrants in 2014, of whom 2,000 were minors without their parents or relatives.
High unemployment rates and regional political instability are among the factors that push migrants to cross the Mediterranean. Egypt has recently introduced stricter legislation to imprison smugglers, in an attempt to break the business of the migration.
In September, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “grave concern” over the treatment of refugees in European countries, and called on them to “live up to their responsibilities, consistent with their international obligations” on receiving and protecting refugees fleeing from dire humanitarian and security crises.
However, it has also faced condemnation too. For instance, Amnesty International recently criticised the use of using a “shoot-to-stop” policy to halt migrant convoys. Policies of deportations and mass returns to countries where refugees may face persecution, as well as extended periods of detention, have been highlighted by critics.
Many migrants who are apprehended are detained for extended and arbitrary periods of time. In one example, 73 Syrian and Palestinian refugees were held at Karmooz police station in Alexandria, after their boat, which left from Turkey for Italy, was taken to the Egyptian coast.
The refugees were investigated by the Prosecutor General, who ordered their release and dropped charges against them on 5 November. However, the refugees, including 15 children, were held at Karmooz police station without charge until their June release.