Former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who last week announced plans to run for the presidency, was deported from the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, his family said, and arrived in Cairo hours later.
Shafiq, a former air force commander and government minister, was seen as the strongest potential opponent of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is expected to run for a second term next year.
With airport security high, Shafiq landed in a private plane in Cairo airport on Saturday evening, the airport sources said.
A Reuters witness at the airport said Egyptian authorities escorted Shafiq in a motorcade that was waiting for him outside the airport.
Shafiq’s whereabouts are unknown his family said hours after he left the airport, and officials did not issue any statement about his location.
UAE news agency WAM said Shafiq left the Emirates, an ally of Sisi’s government, for Egypt without giving any details on why or how he departed. It said his family had remained behind in the Emirates.
Shafiq’s daughter May Shafiq, told Reuters that authorities had come for him at his home and sent him to Cairo.
“We were about to leave to travel to France. They came and took him. They deported him in a private plane. They said they will deport him to Egypt,” May said, adding:
Just because he announced he will run for president they deported him to Egypt and I don’t know what will they do to him
A Gulf source familiar with the matter said earlier: “Shafiq has publicly asked to go to Egypt and his wish will be met.” Shafiq’s lawyer on her Facebook page also said he had been taken from the family home.
Shafiq, a former air force commander and government minister, said on Wednesday he would run for president in a surprise announcement from the UAE, where he has been based. After his announcement, the UAE blocked him from leaving the country and returning to Egypt. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has not yet announced an bid for a second term, but is widely expected to run again.