Khartoum on high alert as Egyptian and Algerian football fans flock into city

Published November 17th, 2009 - 01:46 GMT

Thousands of Algerian and Egyptian fans flocked Tuesday to Khartoum for a decisive World Cup qualifier between the two countries as Sudanese police went on high alert in fear of violence.


Algerian authorities have mobilized planes and offered discounted tickets for the "Green and White" fans to come and watch Wednesday's game against the "Pharaohs" in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum on the Nile. "We expect 48 aircraft from Algeria and 18 from Egypt," said Khartoum state governor Abdelrahman al-Khidr, noting about 2,000 Egyptians were also expected to take buses.


According to AFP, hotels in the Sudanese capital were fully booked on Tuesday, forcing local authorities to establish two separate sites for each camp of supporters, several kilometres apart.


Some 15,000 police are on standby in case things boil over before, during and after the game, said al-Khidr.


Omdurman's Al-Merreikh stadium seats 41,000, but the authorities have limited the number of tickets for the match to 35,000 spectators for safety reasons. About 9,000 seats have been reserved for the rival fans at opposite ends of the stadium.


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