UN soldiers briefly abducted in Sinai

Published May 7th, 2012 - 07:26 GMT

Ten Fijian peace keeping soldiers of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), who oversee the peace between Israel and Egypt, were briefly kidnapped Monday in the Sinai by Bedouins demanding the release of their prisoners. The UN soldiers patrolled and detained following shooting in the air. "They are with us now and we want the liberation of all Bedouin prisoners," said one of the kidnappers, before announcing their release claiming to have received assurances that their claim would be heard.

A security source confirmed that ten soldiers were arrested and released after about an hour. The UN force was created after the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1979 and the return of Sinai to Egypt. It is particularly responsible for ensuring compliance with the peace treaty in the field of security. Sinai is populated largely by Bedouins, who were long marginalized under Hosni Mubarak.

The security situation in Sinai has been fragile since the overthrow of the latter in February 2011. Several foreigners were briefly kidnapped in recent months in the peninsula by Bedouins demanding the release of their prisoners, they feel were unjustly detained.

A heavy crackdown was carried out against some Bedouin clans after the wave of bloody attacks perpetrated between 2004 and 2006 against the resorts of the Red Sea. 

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