There’s been media reports lately of Egyptian troops in Sawa Eritrea. What’s the Truth?
By Martin Plaut
On Thursday a story appeared under this headline: “UAE-backed Egyptian forces arrive in Eritrea.”
This was how the story began, I reproduce the story in full at the end of this article.
Following coordination with the United Arab Emirates, Egyptian forces arrived in Eritrea today, Al Sharq has reported. The forces are armed with modern technology and heavy armoured vehicles. Sources told Al Sharq that a meeting was convened between the UAE, Egypt and the Sudanese opposition representing groups in Darfur and eastern Sudan. There are no reported military confrontations.
The military presence in Eritrea may be a response to Sudan allowing Turkey to take over Suakin Island in Sudan temporarily last year, as part of a broader Turkish engagement policy in Africa. Suakin was once Sudan’s largest port and governed by the Ottoman Empire but has fallen into disuse since the creation of Port Sudan in the 20th century just 60 kilometres to the north.
The suggestion that Egyptian forces had arrived in Eritrea, and were training Eritrean troops at their military academy at Sawa, carried by Al-Jazeera, was denied by the Eritrean government spokesman.
Since then I have been able to confirm that there are NO Egyptians at Sawa, nor any other foreign troops.
So who carried the allegation of an Egyptian presence in Eritrea come from?
The answer is MEMO or the Middle East Monitor.