- Google Maps
- A man has claimed ownership of a no man’s land in northern Africa and declared himself king.
- Suyash Dixit named the land the “Kingdom of Dixit.” Officially, it’s called Bir Tawil.
- Neither Egypt nor Sudan want the piece of land.
- At least two other people have claimed the land for themselves in the past.
An Indian man has travelled to a stateless spit of land between Egypt and Sudan, claimed it as his own, and is accepting applications for people to join his self-styled government.
Suyash Dixit, from Indore, wrote in a Facebook post last week:
“I, Suyash Dixit, first of my name and the protector of the realm, declare myself as the king of ‘Kingdom of Dixit’ ‘I call myself, King Suyash [the] First from today.
“I declare this unclaimed land of Bir Tawil as my country from now to the eternity of time. I pledge to continue to work for the prosperity of my people of the country and this motherland.
“I traveled 319KM (to and fro) in far desert with no roads to claim this unclaimed land of Bir Tawil. This 800 sq.miles of land belongs to no country. […]
“Following the early civilization ethics and rule, if you want to claim a land then you need to grow crops on it. I have added a seed and poured some water on it today. It is mine. […]
“This is no joke, I own a country now! Time to write an email to UN.”
Dixit also appointed his father president and invited people to apply for citizenship in his so-called kingdom.
Bir Tawil’s unoccupied status stems from a series of border disputes between Egypt and Sudan that began in the turn of the 20th century.
Both countries have refused to take control over Bir Tawil, because doing so would relinquish their control over the larger and more lucrative Hala’ib Triangle, The Guardian reported.
According to Dixit, the road to Bir Tawil involved driving through a desert from Egypt, passing a military base and an “area of terrorists” where Egyptian soldiers have been ordered to shoot at sight.”
“If your bucket list ideas are not scary enough then they are not worth trying,” he said.
Dixit may have to fight for his ownership of the terra nullius, however.
In 2014, American father-of-three Jeremiah Heaton proclaimed the land the “Kingdom of North Sudan” to make his daughter a princess. Another person, identified only as “King George Henry I,” also laid claim to the “Kingdom of Bir Tawil” via a blog post on a now-defunct site.
Dixit said: “Now I know I am not the first one to be there. Now I know that some 5-10 folks have done it in the past as well but this is my land now (as I have officially planted the seeds following the rules) and if they want it back, there will be a war (over a cup of coffee at the Starbucks probably)!”
The United Nations has not recognised Heaton or “King George Henry I” as Bir Tawil’s legitimate rulers – and is unlikely to do the same for Dixit.
Only states can assert sovereignty over territory, Anthony Arend, an international law professor at Georgetown University, told The Washington Post in 2014. Occupants must prove they have lived on the land for years, he said.
It’s also not the UN’s role to define a country’s borders, a spokesman for the UN secretary-general told The Post.