In a press conference held on Wednesday, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu confirmed the Egyptian authorities’ findings regarding the killing of eight Mexican tourists in Egypt’s Western Desert, relieving the Egyptian security forces of any responsibility, reported the Guardian.
On September 13, eight Mexican tourists and four Egyptian guides died after the Egyptian security forces opened fire on four SUVs that were navigating the Western Desert on their way to Bahariya oasis. The tourist convoy was bombed from air by military helicopters and aircraft.
Following the incident, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism stated that preliminary investigations have revealed that the Mexican and Egyptian tourists killed and injured in the Western Desert had been travelling in a prohibited area and without any permission. The Interior Ministry also added that joint military and police forces had been conducting security operations in El-Wahat (Oases) in the Western Desert. After opening fire, security forces discovered that the four vehicles had been civilians and tourists.
In her statement, Massieu put the blame on the Egyptian travel agency Windows which was responsible for the Mexican tourists, commenting that “the administrative authorities and the travel agency should have had more clarity on the permit and in that sense would eventually be responsible.”
The Egyptian prosecution issued on September 16 a publication ban on the investigation being held regarding the accidental killing of Mexican tourists, reported Aswat Masriya. The ban includes all media outlets and only allows for official statements issued from the prosecution office to be published.
According to the Egyptian government, investigations into the incident are nearing completion.