600 foreign tourists stranded in southern Egypt due to Nubians' rift

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-4-27 9:32:35

Some 600 foreign tourists, who were stuck earlier Friday on their way back from the tourist attraction of Abu Simbel temple in southern Egypt's Aswan governorate, are now free to leave, after local officials' negotiations with road blockers.

"The Nubians blocked the road after overnight clashes among them over distribution of agricultural lands granted by the government to Nubians," a local official earlier told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The tourists, from various countries, stayed in hotels near the temple for some time before the road is reopened following successful negotiations between Aswan deputy security chief General Gamal al-Fouly and Nubian representatives.

The Nubians are an ethnic group originated from southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Some of the Egyptian Nubian population were displaced by the government to other parts of Aswan in the 1960s for the establishment of Aswan High Dam.

Ahmed Hassan, an antiquity inspector of Abu Simbel, said some armed Nubians held the disputed lands and installed tents there, claiming they had legal ownership papers, while some disarmed Nubians set fire to their tents on Thursday.

"The issue then developed into clashes when the armed Nubians opened fire to scare their rivals off, but no one was injured," Hassan said.

Those who blocked the road on Friday demanded the authorities' arrest of the armed Nubians who used gunshots and terrified peaceful citizens, he said.

Egypt has been struggling to bring back foreign tourists after the 2011 upheaval. But underdeveloped facilities, poor security and recurrent violent protests remain the major obstacles.

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