SHARE
COPY LINK

DEMOCRACY

Sweden issues Egypt travel warning

Sweden's foreign ministry has issued a formal warning against travel to all of Egypt with Swedish holidaymakers already in the country set to be evacuated as unrest continues.

Sweden issues Egypt travel warning
Egyptian Nobel Peace laureate and democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei, Sunday

“The decision on the amended recommendations is based on the developments we have seen over the past day in Egypt,” said Anders Jörle at the foreign ministry press office to news agency TT.

The recommendation will primarily affect those booked to travel to the North African country.

“This has consequences firstly for those about to travel. It is also a general statement on the situation down there.

Tourists in Sweden and in Egypt were urged to contact their tour operators.

It was announced earlier on Sunday that a group of Swedish holidaymakers are to be evacuated from Egypt with further trips cancelled as the foreign ministry decision became increasingly likely.

Swedish charter companies Fritidsresor and Temaresor have announced that around 50 Swedes are to be evacuated from Luxor and Aswan.

“We feel that the situation is unpredictable and it is better to be safe than sorry. There is unrest in both Luxor and Aswan,” said Eva Olivecrona at Fritidsresor.

Charter firm Apollo also announced the cancellation of Sunday’s departure to Cairo, affecting 180 passengers. After the foreign ministry statement further flights operated by Detur from Stockholm Arlanda and Gothenburg have been cancelled.

“Passengers were heading for Cairo or to the seaside resort of el Sukhna,” said Apollo communications head Kajsa Moström.

The plane was instead sent empty to Cairo to bring home existing guests.

The passengers who travelled by bus from el Sukhna had no problems getting up to the airport. On the other hand buses with passengers from Cairo had to take some detours, the firm confirmed.

“It was not a direct route, but there were no real problems,” said Moström.

Despite the ongoing unrest several Swedish travel operators are continuing to service the North African country.

Ving and Fritidsresor have no trips to Cairo, and only fly to the Red Sea coast, although Temaresor occasionally visit the capital as part of package tours.

“But there we have made alternative arrangements and the groups do not go to Cairo. They get to see other sights,” said Eva Olivecrona.

Apollo, like Ving and Fritidsresor, has suspended all tours from the Red Sea coast to Luxor and Cairo until further notice.

Sweden’s foreign ministry had advised earlier on Sunday that it may tighten travel advice for Egypt, as the revolt against the rule of Hosni Mubarak’s regime spreads to several popular Swedish holiday destinations.

Joakim Larsson at the ministry’s press office confirmed reports of unrest in Hurghada and also in the popular resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“But the information we have indicates that it concerns looting of businesses to a limited extent,” he said.

“Of course it is linked to the events that are taking place,” he said.

The ministry counts around 15,000 Swedes currently residing in Egypt, most of them tourists. The number of permanently resident Swedes amounts to only 184 people.

“There can of course be several residents who chose not to register at the embassy,” Larsson said.

The ministry has not received any information about any dead or injured Swedes, according to Joakim Larson.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

BURIAL

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt

A Swedish archeologist has discovered a 3,000-year-old mass grave at the Gebel el-Silsila site in southern Egypt.

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt
John Ward and the team with one of the sarcophogi. Photo: Gebel El Silsila Project
Maria Nilsson, Researcher in Classical Archeology at Lund University, told Sweden’s TT newswire that although her group had so far dug through less than half of the grave site, they had already found a large number of human remains. 
 
“It’s just skeleton after skeleton after skeleton,” she said. “We haven’t yet finished the first chamber, but we have so far taken up 50 adults and 25 children.” 
 
Nilsson and her British husband John Ward, who is the project’s Assistant Director, announced the discovery in a video after it was announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquity on Thursday. 
 

 
The group discovered the shaft last year, but only realised its full significance when they started digging this October. The shaft was found five metres under ground and leads to two chambers, each filled with water, sand and sludge. 
 
View to the south-east of chamber 1. Photo: Gebel el Silsila Project
 
The grave is thought to date from Egypt’s 18th dynasty, making it around 3,400 years old. As well as bodies, the archeologists have found burial goods, such as scarabs, amulets, and different types of pots, coming from three generations of pharoahs: Thutmosis II, III och Amenhotep II.
 
Writing in her blog, Nilsson, said that no similar mass grave had been found as part of the dig. 
 
“No other tomb documented at Gebel el-Silsila previously has contained such a high number of entombed individuals,” she wrote.
 
“One of the more important results of the discovery at Gebel el-Silsila is the amount of buried children and women, indicating that there was a complete society with entire families living and working in ancient Kheny.”
 
 
Men-Kheper-Re scarab. Photo: Anders Andersson
 
“What we can see from the burial goods and the actual architecture of the tomb is that they belonged to the upper middle-class,” Nilsson said. “For various reasons, we believe that they were involved in quarry work.” 
 
The archeologists have several theories for why so many bodies were collected in the same place. 
 
Perhaps it was a kind of temporary morgue where Egypt’s priests kept bodies while waiting for grave sites to become available. Perhaps there had been an epidemic.   
 
In February Maria Nilsson and John Ward are returning to Sweden, and will be returning to the burial place next autumn. 
 
View from the shaft into chamber.  Photo: Anders Andersson
 
 
SHOW COMMENTS