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Egypt to Deport More South Sudanese Students

FILE - Displaced South Sudanese students take a maths examination in the disco club in the United Nations base in Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 17, 2014.

Eight more South Sudanese students will be deported from Cairo this week, student leaders said, after Egypt recently expelled several students over allegations they beat an Egyptian police officer during protests.

The accused students, who were studying in Egyptian universities under a scholarship program, staged a sit-in at the South Sudan embassy in Cairo early this month, demanding better living conditions.

The spokesperson for the South Sudan Police Service Major General Daniel Justin said three students accused of beating the Egyptian police officer were deported from Cairo Friday in addition to another South Sudanese national who did not possess "migration papers."

"I have confirmed from those of CID (Criminal Investigation Directorate), the deportees were four, three were involved in the demonstrations of the students. One of them is a lady, and the charge was that they fought with the police – they have beaten one police officer and a case was opened against them and then as a result, they were deported," Justin said.

Three other students were also deported to South Sudan on Monday.

Following the October 4 protests, some South Sudanese students told South Sudan in Focus that Egyptian authorities had severely beaten many students while attempting to disperse demonstrations.

Bech Marial Dhieu, a first-year student who studied medicine in Cairo, and two other students who were deported to South Sudan's capital Juba Friday were handed over to the South Sudan National Police Service for further investigations.

Dhieu told South Sudan in Focus the Egyptian police picked him up along with 10 other students.

"On 4th of October, we were arrested, and we were inmates in prison for almost three weeks. While we were there, we were only allowed to see outside when we were doing our corona (virus) test. The following day, we were taken directly from the prison to the airport. And then we were handed to CID at Juba airport," Dheiu said.

He added that the students were never tried in a court of law to qualify for deportation, adding his dream of a better future has been shattered.

An Egyptian diplomat in South Sudan who is not authorized to speak on the matter did not deny or confirm that his country deported the students.

Abuk Matthew Bol, a second-year student of law who was also deported to South Sudan on Friday, said she was surprised to be forced to leave Egypt.

"We were not taken to the court. We were only taken to the place of passport. When we went to that place, they asked us who is going to book for you the ticket and we asked them, 'Where we are going?' And they told us that was none of their business," Bol told South Sudan in Focus.

Officials from South Sudan’s ministries of foreign affairs and education declined to comment on the students' deportation.