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Deported South Sudanese students demand to be returned to Egypt for studies

Ten South Sudanese students who were recently deported from Egypt are demanding the transitional unity government to help them return to Cairo for university studies.

Ajak Arou Mayom, one of the affected students who had been studying medicine at the University of Alexandria, told the Juba Echo on Wednesday that they were deported illegally and called upon the government to take them back to Egypt to continue with their studies.

“We were deported illegally, Egyptian government didn’t deported us, it’s the Ambassador of South Sudan to Egypt who deported us,” Mayon said in an interview in Juba.

“It’s the ambassador who deported us, if its Egyptian government we would be taken to court, charged and transported to Juba on the same day, but now we were brought to Juba one by one, so we are demanding the government to take us to Egypt to continue with our studies because we have never committed any crimes, even here in Juba we have no case against us,” he added.

The first team of these students was deported on 21st October, followed by the second and third team on 24th and 28th of October respectively. The last team arrived in Juba on 31st October.

The students prior to their deportation had held sit-in protest at the South Sudan Embassy in Cairo.

 Mayom said that they recently went to meet the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology who told them to wait for the Minister Gabriel Changson who travelled abroad.

“We are captured on 3rd of October by Egyptian security, this is the fact the batch of 2021/2022 went to occupy the embassy because they were demanding to be fully funded as agreed some time back, and as a result the ambassador left the embassy without giving food and water to students,” said Mayom.

 He disclosed that Egyptian security forces detained them for 28 days on orders from the Ambassador.

 Mayom said they were not investigated at all by security personnel.

He said that their deportation is illegal because there is no case against them otherwise they would be taken to court and charged on the crimes they had committed if any.

“We were illegally deported with directives from the Ambassador himself without any crime passed on us by the Egyptian court. We were never taken to court when we were in prison, we were just chained until we were taken for a coronavirus test two days before we left,” said Mayom.

In late September, hundreds of students studying on government scholarships in Egypt staged a sit-in protest at the embassy in Cairo, occupying it for several days before Egyptian security intervened, leaving several of them wounded.

The students later on abandoned the sit-in after the ministry of higher education in Juba promised to address the deteriorating conditions at universities where they were told that the scholarship would cover their study in part.

Our efforts to contact the ministry of foreign Affairs and higher education were futile by press time as officials could not comment the issue.

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