Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Army keeps Morsi's whereabouts secret

01 August 2013, 09:31

Cairo - Egypt is taking extreme measures to keep Mohammed Morsi hidden. It says dignitaries are helicoptered to the deposed president's place of detention after nightfall, flying in patterns aimed at confusing the visitors. The military also has reportedly moved Morsi at least three times.

"Maneuvers have been undertaken during the nighttime helicopter flight so as to disorient [the visitors] in regard to where the location is," Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali, the military spokesman, told The Associated Press Wednesday, following a visit to Morsi Tuesday night by an African Union delegation.

The Egyptian army has kept Morsi in hiding since ousting him in a 3 July coup. But the military-backed interim leadership is under international criticism about Morsi's continued detention, and by allowing two high-level visits in quick succession it apparently hoped to ease the pressure.

"There are lies going around that he is badly treated, that he is under pressure, or that he is not taking his medication, and these were conveyed to the West," Ali said. "This step was part of a transparency policy and to refute such allegations. We have nothing to hide."

He said Morsi's whereabouts were being kept secret for his own safety because "there are millions of people against him, and moving him is not considered appropriate at the moment."

It's also possible, however, that if his place of detention were revealed, it would also attract throngs of Morsi supporters.

He has already been moved at least three times between Defense Ministry facilities in armored vehicles under heavy guard, security officials told the AP, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the details of Morsi's case with the media. They said he is currently in a facility outside Cairo, but would not elaborate.

Very frank meeting

The African Union delegation head, former Mali President Alpha Oumar Konare, offered no clues to Morsi's location. He told reporters he had a "very frank meeting" with him but gave no details. Egypt's state news agency said it lasted an hour.

"We had a very good meeting with president Morsi," Konare said. "Permit me not to talk about it for the time being because probably there will be other meetings."

The African Union has suspended Egypt's membership because of the coup.

On Monday Morsi had a two-hour visit from Catherine Ashton, the European Union's top diplomat. She said the 61-year-old was well and keeping up with developments through TV and newspapers, but gave no other details. She said she saw the facility holding him, but didn't know where it was.

The military originally said it was holding Morsi for his own safety. But last week authorities announced he was being detained pending an investigation into allegations that he conspired with the militant Palestinian Hamas group to escape from prison during the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi's supporters have called his detention illegal.

"A second visit after Baroness Ashton to President Morsi from the African Union. When will his family, which is more deserving, visit him?" tweeted Essam el-Erian, a leading member of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi is married with five children.

Ali, the military spokesman, said there are unlikely to be more visits by foreign dignitaries, now that two delegations have found him to be in good health.

Security threat

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle arrived Wednesday, and his request for a meeting was refused. A delegation of US senators arriving shortly has not asked for one. A two-member delegation from Egyptian human rights groups visited Morsi this weekend, but he refused to meet them, according to local media.

Despite the visits, Egypt's politics remain deadlocked.

Morsi's supporters say they will continue their street rallies until Egypt's first freely elected president is reinstated, while the interim government took a defiant stance Wednesday, declaring a monthlong sit-in by thousands of Morsi supporters is a national security threat, terrorising residents and threatening state institutions. The government said the sit-ins will be broken up by legal means.

Shortly after the coup, thousands of Morsi supporters converged on a Republican Guard club in Cairo where they believed he was being held. Days later security forces killed more than 50 Morsi supporters near the facility, saying some were armed and tried to break into the building. The Morsi supporters denied it.

One intriguing detail that emerged from the meeting with Ashton was disclosed to the AP by a government official familiar with the talks between Ashton and Morsi. He said Morsi expressed the wish to consult the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader, Mohammed Badie.

That could mean that Morsi, isolated for a month, needs to hear the Brotherhood's view on whether he should stand his ground, compromise or relinquish the presidency. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to speak to the media.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...