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  #1  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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Gilf Kibir kidnappings

Hello,

maybe this is a special year for kidnapping:

Egypt: Tourists Kidnapped Near Aswan | World News | Sky News



Regards

Ulrich

P.S.: I'm sorry that I'm mostly the deliverer for bad news.
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  #2  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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I presume it's out towards Gilf Kebir.
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  #3  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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Yes, that's what my private source told me:

Warning! Maybe it happened in Gilf Khebir

Ulrich
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  #4  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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Here is the confirmation
Quote:
Mustapha Tawfiq, chief of police in the southern city of Aswan, told state television that four men abducted the group near Gilf el-Kabir, near the borders with Libya and Sudan.
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Tourists 'abducted' in Egypt

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Ulrich
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  #5  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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Exclamation 11 tourists abducted near Uweinat

All accross the mainstream news, with lots of misinformation, but the sketchy facts:

11 foreigners, 5 Italian, 5 German and a Romanian. They were with an egyptian operator, including the company owner, two giudes(?), four drivers and an officer, with four cars. The abductors were african in appearance (based on phone call from one of the group members), most likely Sudanese. The incident apparently happened on friday, but news only became known today afternoon (monday).

The group started from Dakhla, the abduction happened somewhere somewhere in the Gilf/Uweinat area, or possibly on the Selima Sand Sheet. Latest reports suggest the event happened in Karkur Talh, echoing the event last February posted on Carlo Bergmann's website

Group allegedly taken accross the Sudanese border, reportedly a 6 million USD ransom is being asked. There are reports suggesting that some negotiations are taking place (presumably over the group's Satphone).

In a new twist, it is now reported that the abductors may have been Egyptian. This is not totally surprising, as one would need insider info to know when/where a group is going, otherwise it is a pretty big and empty place just to leave hunting for chance... The SLA were quick to deny any involvement, but I doubt whether their spokesperson actually knows what all the loose groups are doing, so for the time being tha abductors may well be Sudanese (or even from Chad as some sources suggested).

More as I get some reliable info.

It appears the Gilf / Uweinat is off limits for the time being

UPDATE 1: Earlier reports that the 11 tourists have been released appear to be false, it is being denied by officials in Cairo. As of tuesday morning it appears to be full confusion, for the time being nothing is really known, except that the incident did happen. It appears that the German government is taking a lead in the negotiations. I'm not sure this bodes well: with their track record of paying up, if this will be the case again then it simply reinforces the viability of the business model.

UPDATE 2: No real news over the past two days, and the thread is growing so I will no longer update this post, will make new posts when any meaningful information surfaces.
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Last edited by andrasz; 24 Sep 2008 at 12:36. Reason: Update
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  #6  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
Hello,

maybe this is a special year for kidnapping:

Egypt: Tourists Kidnapped Near Aswan | World News | Sky News



Regards

Ulrich

P.S.: I'm sorry that I'm mostly the deliverer for bad news.
Ach Mensch.... Any chance, Ulrich, for some HAPPY news please? we all know the world is an evil place blah blah blah but there are still some amazingly good stuff & people out there!
Bitter Schön?
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  #7  
Old 22 Sep 2008
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Hello Bert and all others, good news now:

Egypt | Africa - Reuters.com - Gunmen free foreign hostages seized in Egypt

Friendly regards

Ulrich
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  #8  
Old 23 Sep 2008
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"and all are safe and sound, Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Monday."

No so fast

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Egypt abduction talks 'ongoing'

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit originally reported their release ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in New York.

He said the hostages were "safe and sound".

But the cabinet spokesman, Magdy Radi, later said: "It is premature to say they are released. The negotiations are still continuing."
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  #9  
Old 23 Sep 2008
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Sorry, but the bad news stick on my fingers

Reuters - Kidnappers threaten to kill hostages - Egypt official

Greetings

Ulrich
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  #10  
Old 23 Sep 2008
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First, I hope for the sake of all involved that this latest issue solves itself quickly - at least as quickly as Egypt's foreign minister seemed to think it had been solved.

There was an interesting pattern of escalation in the Gilf - starting with the theft of the cars which was discussed extensively on the forum earlier this year. Following that was the strange set of events with the Swiss guys, who had the cars and belongings stolen and then returned (partly) some days later. And now this. It is almost as though the bandits were testing the extent of the counter insurgency capabilities before they went for the big (multi-million euro) effort.

Looking more broadly, there is a pattern of abductions emerging across a lot of Africa north of the equator. About 30 ships have been hijacked in Somalia this year and there is a whole industry built around feeding and maintaining the kidnapped (near the town of Eyl). Then there are the abductions in the Niger Delta in Nigeria and the kidnapping of the Austrains who are still being held in Mali. News of a 'good' idea seems to spread quite far.

The region I am most familiar with crime-wise is South Africa were a similar pattern of 'idea' crime has spread (not involving kidnappings as much as ATM explosions, cash-in-transit heists and so on). The difficulty here is that those undertaking the crime initially, tend to plan carefully and are pretty professional. The crime soon leads to bloodshed when less capable bandits copy the ideas. Makes you wonder about the Sahara.
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  #11  
Old 23 Sep 2008
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Permission for Great Sand Sea

To Andrasz,
Hi as I know you're a very experienced desert traveller to the Gilf and Unweinat. I'm planning to do a trip middle of November with some friends from Farafra (badawiya) and would like to know your opinion. I just plan to do a 6 to 7 night trip from Farafra-Ain Dalla-Sand Sea until the Silica Field and back to Abu Minqar. Do you think that the Egyptian governement will suspend all necessary permissions to travel into the Sand Sea? Would like to read your opinion about this matter.
Thanks.
Regards,
Thomas
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  #12  
Old 23 Sep 2008
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Bandits apart - is the Gilf so special to make such an effort to visit, particularly if you have traversed the Sahara from Mori to Egypt via Algeria and Libya? I guess my question is, what is so special about it?
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Old 23 Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by saharagems View Post
Do you think that the Egyptian governement will suspend all necessary permissions to travel into the Sand Sea?
Hello Thomas,

It is pure speculation at the moment. Much will depend on the outcome of this event, but my assessment is that restrictions will be put in place, simply to show that the Egyptian government is doing something (which they are not, the only thing they will want is to prevent another incident causing bad press for the immensely more important Nile valley tourism). However it is impossible to guess what the restrictions will be - usually there is no logic to it. We'll just have to wait and see...

Personally I'd consider any place north of 24 degrees perfectly safe, at least from the angle we are talking about now.
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  #14  
Old 23 Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by Fastship View Post
Bandits apart - is the Gilf so special to make such an effort to visit, particularly if you have traversed the Sahara from Mori to Egypt via Algeria and Libya? I guess my question is, what is so special about it?
Your question gives the answer : It is remote, uninhabited, untouched, unexplored. Wish it would have stayed that way...
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  #15  
Old 23 Sep 2008
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Permissions to the Sand Sea

Dear Andrasz,
Thank you for your opinion. It was the answer I expected. The most important for the governement is that tourism at the Red Sea and Nile Valley will not be affected. They make millions of income out of it and can easily renounce to the some thousands they made out of the permissions and the so called officers they sent on each trip. Comparing to the main tourism areas this are just peanuts. I'm only sorry for all who plan to do trips to the Gilf and for the tour operators who are depending on this income (specially at this moment when the high season is starting).
Also about the logic I completly agree with you...there is no logic in whole Egypt..I was living 5yrs in Cairo so anything will be possible.
Would you be so kind to inform me about any news concerning the permissions (I guess you are planing trips too in the coming months). You may contact me also outside the forum at saharagems Aattt yahoo com
Thanks again.
Regards,
Thomas

Last edited by Grant Johnson; 25 Sep 2008 at 12:17. Reason: NEVER post your email address on the web UNLESS you LOVE spam! Because the spambots will harvest it & send you lots of spam!
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