Egypt Destroys Thousands of Homes to Build a Buffer Zone

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Egypt’s official plan to build a buffer zone in the unstable North Sinai will lead to clearing of an entire town in Rafah which is home to at least 78,000 people according to the Human Rights Watch.

More than 3200 families have so far been evacuated to make way for the construction which began in 2013. The Human Rights Watch states that the families were given only 48 houses to vacate their premises and handed little compensation for their homes with no compensation for farmland.

According to the Human Rights Watch the military has destroyed homes using uncontrolled explosives and earth moving equipment in their detailed new report released on Tuesday.

The Rights group based in New York said that Egypt has violated ‘Protections for forcibly evicted residents laid out in the United Nations and African conventions to which Egypt is a signatory, and may have also violated the laws of war.’

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The government of Egypt is fighting the rise of insurgency in Northern Sinai. A militant group going by the name Sinai Province of Islamic State extremist organisation has attacked security forces severally.

Egypt’s security forces believe clearing of the kilometre –wide strip along the Sinai border with Gaza is important in eradicating the tunnels used in smuggling by the militants. So far at least 400 militants have been killed since September 7 according to the military.

Security forces killed eight Mexican tourists and four Egyptians on September 13 mistaken for militants.

There are reporting restrictions imposed in the area, and an anti-terrorism law that forbids publications of accounts contrary to official military statements concerning terrorists’ incidents, was recently passed into law.