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Égypt-actus
revue de presse sur l'actualité culturelle, archéologique, politique et sociale de l'Égypte
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A Big Battle Over A Tiny Isle In The Nile : NPR

A Big Battle Over A Tiny Isle In The Nile : NPR | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The 70-acre patch of agricultural land is prime real estate next to Cairo, and it has been the subject of a long fight over ownership.

It's not easy to get to Qursaya island, a tiny bit of land in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt's capital. You have to take a boat from the riverbank. There are no cars on the island, and it's only had running water for a few years.

It's a quiet 70-acre patch of agricultural land amid a megacity, where mooing cows provide the soundtrack, and farmers and fishermen have lived for generations.

But not all is as bucolic as it seems: The island is at the heart of a yearslong legal battle between those farmers and the government.

"Countryside in the middle of the city — and that's why I came here and I decide to live here," says Mohammed Abla, a prominent artist who moved to Qursaya in 1997. "And I think the first years were very quiet but the problems [started in] 2000."

Who Owns Qursaya?

Before 2000, Abla says, the government neglected the island. But it is prime real estate, and the problems began when the government told residents that it sold the land to an investor for a tourism project, Abla says. Ever since then, the islanders have been struggling with the government, the military and investors over who gets to keep Qursaya. The issue of land ownership is murky, but the residents won a major court case in 2010.

 

"I think this was a good decision by the administrative court because it made a very clear ruling that the people of the island of Qursaya have the right to live there and they have the right to work there," says Heba Morayef, a director at Human Rights Watch who has been monitoring the situation.

Despite that ruling, the Egyptian army claims it owns several large strips of land on the island. Some of the residents repossessed that land last year because it was sitting empty.

But before dawn one morning last November, military police landed on Qursaya and seized the areas after clashing with residents.

 

More on:http://www.npr.org/2013/03/09/173820639/a-big-battle-over-a-tiny-isle-in-the-nile

 

 

 

 

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Egypt Armed Forces 'Won't Give Up Inch Of Military Land'

Egypt Armed Forces 'Won't Give Up Inch Of Military Land' | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Military sources have confirmed that Egypt's armed forces "will not give up a single inch of land" that belongs to the military, whether it is situated on the nation's borders or in Cairo and the governorates.

Qursaya, a small island in Cairo's Giza district, is among the lands claimed by the military. In an 18 November statement posted on Facebook, Egyptian military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali declared that the land in question was the property of the armed forces, which needed it for military exercises aimed at "securing the capital."

In November, 25 island inhabitants were detained by authorities for resisting efforts by military police to evict them. Despite a 2010 court verdict overruling previous eviction orders and recognising the inhabitants' right to live and work on the island, the armed forces claimed the island as military property.

Egypt's 'No to Military Trials for Civilians' campaign, along with other political movements, has continued to advocate in support of the local inhabitants' right to the island.

Twenty-one of the civilians detained during November's clashes were said to have told a military court that they had not originally been residents of the island; rather, they had reportedly said, they had been paid by businessmen to resist military personnel in order to justify the evacuation of the island.

The Qursaya land feud dates back to 2007, when the Mubarak regime attempted to force locals off the island in order to resell the land to Egyptian businessmen for tourism development. The government at the time attempted to evacuate residents forcibly using police and army forces.

Egypt-actus's insight:

An anonymous military source has told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website that the island was "of critical strategic importance" to Egypt's military and was vital to the protection of greater Cairo. The source went on to say that the armed forces had not expelled a single resident of the island since their appearance in 2007.

The source also alleged that military land was being commandeered by citizens who had taken advantage of Egypt's chaotic and politically turbulent post-revolution climate. He went on to stress that the military used only 25 feddans of the island's 139 feddans (1 feddan is roughly equivalent to one acre of land), which was primarily agricultural in nature and had few residents.

Officially, the island is home to less than 100 civilian inhabitants.

Following the November clashes, Egyptian Minister of Defence Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi formally honoured three military men injured in the melee.

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Video - Residents of Nile island struggle

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports that residents on an island in the Nile are struggling to keep their homes.
 
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Egypt island residents forcibly evicted

Egypt island residents forcibly evicted | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Rights groups say military used excessive force, killing at least one person, in raid on island in Cairo.

 

Residents of a small island in Egypt are facing eviction and a military trial.

In November, the hundreds of army personnel stormed the island of al-Qursaya, on the outskirts of the capital Cairo.

One person was killed and dozens were arrested. Rights groups say that the military used excessive force in their attempt to evict the unarmed residents.


Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from al-Qursaya.

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