Cairo: Egypt is taking extreme measures to keep Mohammed Morsi hidden. It says dignitaries are helicoptered to the deposed president`s place of detention after nightfall, flying in patterns aimed at confusing the visitors.
The military also has reportedly moved Morsi at least three times.
"Maneuvers have been undertaken during the nighttime helicopter flight so as to disorient (the visitors) in regard to where the location is," Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali, the military spokesman, told The Associated Press yesterday, following a visit to Morsi Tuesday night by an African Union delegation.
The Egyptian army has kept Morsi in hiding since ousting him in a July 3 coup.
But the military-backed interim leadership is under international criticism about Morsi`s continued detention, and by allowing two high-level visits in quick succession it apparently hoped to ease the pressure.
"There are lies going around that he is badly treated, that he is under pressure, or that he is not taking his medication, and these were conveyed to the West," Ali said.
"This step was part of a transparency policy and to refute such allegations. We have nothing to hide."
He said Morsi`s whereabouts were being kept secret for his own safety because "there are millions of people against him, and moving him is not considered appropriate at the moment."
It`s also possible, however, that if his place of detention were revealed, it would also attract throngs of Morsi supporters.
He has already been moved at least three times between Defense Ministry facilities in armored vehicles under heavy guard, security officials told the AP, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the details of Morsi`s case with the media. They said he is currently in a facility outside Cairo, but would not elaborate.
The African Union delegation head, former Mali President Alpha Oumar Konare, offered no clues to Morsi`s location.
He told reporters he had a "very frank meeting" with him but gave no details. Egypt`s state news agency said it lasted an hour.
"We had a very good meeting with President Morsi," Konare said.
"Permit me not to talk about it for the time being because probably there will be other meetings."
The African Union has suspended Egypt`s membership because of the coup.