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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt crisis: Students recall anxious moments


SEPANG: Nazeera Mohd Nasir, 21, a student at the University of Mansoura, was sleeping in her room the night the crisis erupted in Egypt when she was awakened by an announcement from a nearby mosque.
There was urgency in the manner the announcement was relayed, telling the residents nearby to switch off their lights and secure their doors because inmates from a nearby prison had escaped and were roaming the streets.
"We were very scared. At night we couldn't sleep because we kept on hearing the sound of glasses being shattered, of tanks moving about and of gunshots being fired," she told Bernama at the KL International Airport on her arrival from Cairo.
Nazeera, a third year medical student, who arrived here with her friend, Nurul Shafiqah Mohd Tajudin, 21, at 10pm last night, was among the few who were lucky to get a flight out of Cairo.
They said their rented house in Mansoura was located near the crisis area.
Three days ago they decided to rent a car, which took them to the Cairo international airport, only to find that the airport was already congested with people trying to flee the strife-torn country.
Although they had bought tickets, they were unable to take a flight out, they said.
"It was a tense situation at the terminal with people rushing to board the planes," Nazeera said, adding that they had to buy other tickets using their credit cards.
Nurul Shafiqah said there were about 200 Malaysian students stranded at the airport, with many of them having run out of money.
"We stayed at the airport and slept on the floor ... there were people crying because they had been stranded at the airport for four days already.
"We had to ration whatever food that we had, like some biscuits and mineral water. We were unable to withdraw money and the bread and drinks sold at the airport were very expensive," she said.
They later took an Emirates flight to return home.
Nor Akhbariah Md Najas, 20, a first year medical student at University of Tanta, said the situation in Tanta was not as bad but they adhered to the curfew.
"Each day there were houses being broken into," said Nor Akhbariah, who was met at the airport by her mother Jamaliah Mohd Salleh, 57.
Meanwhile in Putrajaya, The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has called on the congregation at all mosques nationwide to perform "solat hajat" (prayer of need) Thursday and after Friday prayers tomorrow for the safety of Malaysians in Egypt.
Jakim director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said it was also to pray for an end to the current political unrest in Egypt, which began at the end of last month as protestors rallied against President Hosni Mubarak, urging him to step down. - Bernama

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