The aunt of one of the two Mexican tourists who were mistakenly shot by Egyptian security forces doubts that the group was attacked because they were in a restricted area, reports Mexican media.
Her doubts are consistent with what an unnamed local tour guide told BBC. The tour guide said the group of tourists were in an “unrestricted area.”
In statement, Egypt’s Ministry of Interior claimed the vehicles carrying the tourists had traveled in a restricted area that was “off limits to foreign tourists.”
“This was probably a terrible mistake, because whenever he went to that place all permits were filled,” Araceli Rangel Davalos, aunt of Rafael Bejarano Rangel, one of the Mexican victims, said in an interview with Formula Group, reports Proceso.
The aunt said she knew the tour guide. She explained that the group of Mexican tourists traveled to Egypt on September 9. Her sister, Marisela Rangel Davalos, and her nephew, Rafael Bejarano Rangel, were among the tourists.
Rangel Rafael Bejarano died in the attack, while Marisela Rangel Davalos was injured but stable.
Araceli Rangel Davalos defended the travel agency hired by her family.
At least 12 people were killed and 10 others wounded on Sunday when Egyptian security forces accidentally attacked a convoy of mostly Mexican tourists.
The security forces mistook the tourists for “terrorist elements” they were pursuing in the country’s vast western desert, Egypt’s Interior Ministry reported Monday.
Mexico confirmed that two of its citizens were among the dead, and several others were wounded.
“Mona el-Bakri, the spokeswoman for the Dar al-Fouad hospital where the wounded were being treated, says two of the seven Mexicans receiving treatment also hold American citizenship,” reported the Associated Press (AP).
The tourist “group of 22 had parked their four 4×4 vehicles off-road on Sunday for a barbecue near the Bahariya oasis, a tourist site in the western desert, when army aircraft suddenly began shelling them from above,” added Reuters.
Those who attempted to flee were fired upon by Egyptian ground troops.
“Mexico condemns these deeds against our citizens and has demanded an exhaustive investigation of what has occurred,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on his Twitter account.
“The area is a restricted area, and the company made a mistake by taking the tourists to that area without a permit,” maintained Egyptian tourism federation chairman Elhamy Elzayat. “They must obtain a permit before going there.”