Derry man based in Egypt tells family: “I’m safe”

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A Derry man living in Egypt has reassured family and friends at home that he is safe after several days without internet and phone access.

Speaking to the ‘Sunday Journal ‘on Friday from his home in Luxor, where rioting took place last weekend, Galliagh man Paul Nixon said things had calmed down considerably in the city where he’s been living for the past five years.

He had however been in Cairo when trouble started last week before leaving to travel back to Luxor where he runs a restaurant.

“I can say that it is not very bad here in Luxor as most of the violence is concentrated in Cairo,” he said.

Mr.Nixon continued: “I was in Cairo when it kicked off. Most ex-pats have left and all tourists have been taken out, but a few of us remain. There is no reason for us to be afraid, all this is aimed at the government and not us.”

Speaking to family and friends on social networking site Facebook, the former St Brigid’s College pupil thanked everyone at home for well wishes given his only link was minimal contact via a sporadic satellite phone link during the worst of the unrest in Egypt.

The 39-year-old had travelled to the country initially as a travel rep with First Choice holidays in 2005 and has since built up an impressive CV in the tourist industry there.

He also set up a company specialising in cruises along the Nile and tailor made hotel packages across Egypt.

He said all business people were waiting to see what happened in the coming weeks and said plans he had made to move to Cairo had been put on hold because of the violence there.

“We just have to play it by ear about business at the moment and I’m hoping to move to Cairo when it calms down to start a new job,” he added.

Meanwhile economic analysts now estimate that the uprising is costing Egypt at least $310m a day.

Protesters remained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last night following Friday’s mass rally calling for President Mubarak to resign.

Yesterday, Mr. Mubarak met the prime minister, finance minister, oil minister and trade and industry minister, along with the central bank governor.

The controversial leader has said he will not stand for re-election in September but insists he must stay until then to prevent chaos in the country. Protesters continue to demand that he goes immediately.