Calls for investigating fire break-out in a natural reserve

An Egyptian environmental organization has urged the launching of an investigation into a fire that erupted on the Saluga and Ghazal islands, a natural reserve located 3 km north of the Aswan Dam in Upper Egypt, earlier this week.

The fire resulted in the destruction of roughly 300 trees and the death and flight of hundreds of rare birds, previously threatened with extinction.

Preliminary investigations failed to determine the cause of the blaze. News reports suggested elements of Egyptian state security tried to dispose of some incriminating documents by burning them on the islands. Other analysts believe the fire spilled over from a boat in the Nile due to strong winds experienced at the time.

Mahmoud al-Qadi, legal director at Habi Center for Environmental Rights, submitted a request to the public prosecutor in Aswan to investigate the incident, sources said.

The Saluga and Ghazal islands were recognized by the council of ministers as a natural reserve in 1986, al-Qadi said.

Translated from Arabic edition.

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