Egypt introduced visa requirements for Sudanese citizens before crossing its borders, according to a press statement published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 10 June.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Ahmed Abu-Zeid, clarified that the decision aims to provide regulations rather than restrictions on Sudanese individuals fleeing from their conflict-plagued country.
“These measures aim to set an organisational framework for that process after more than 50 days since the outbreak of the crisis, and they are not intended to prevent or limit the number of Sudanese citizens entering Egypt,” Abu-Zeid was quoted in the statement.
Sudanese women of all ages, children under 16, and individuals over 50 were previously exempt from the visa requirement.
Abu-Zeid stressed that the responsibility for the welfare of these individuals, including healthcare, education, and housing, lies with the Egyptian government.
The statement also announced that automated visa procedures are available through its consulates in Halfa and Port Sudan to ensure a smooth and accurate process for Sudanese citizens entering Egypt.
A video tweet showcased masses of Sudanese citizens in a queue for a visa appointment in Halfa being attacked by Sudanese security forces. The video does not indicate the reason for the assault.
WHY IMPLEMENT AN ENTRY VISA NOW?
The decision was prompted by the discovery of illicit activities, such as visa forgery, carried out by individuals and groups on the Sudanese side of the border.
Abu-Zeid was quoted saying that these groups exploit the situation and the Egyptian government’s efforts to accommodate the arrival of Sudanese citizens. Egypt welcomed over 200,000 refugees since the conflict erupted on 15 April, the highest number among Sudan’s neighbouring countries.
The conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces rages on, despite a previously agreed-upon ceasefire.