An Indian adventurer dodged terrorists in the barren desert to stake ownership to a strip of land between Sudan and Egypt that neither country has claimed.
Syash Dixit, a computer coder from Indore, India, undertook a perilous six-hour drive and declared himself king of the Kingdom of Dixit in Bir Tawil, an 800-square mile tract that Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings said in a 2011 article was there for the taking if anyone was up to the challenge.
The land is believed to be the largest area unclaimed by any recognized nation. Bir Tawil's existence is the result of a border drawn up by the British at the end of the 19th century.
“The route that I took is under Egyptian military (it is an international border) and is an area of terrorists so military have 'shoot at sight' orders,” Dixit said on Facebook, the Telegraph reported Tuesday.
“But, if your Bucket List ideas are not scary enough then they are not worth trying! You need permissions to even enter the route to this place.
“We [had] three conditions; no photos of military areas, be back in a single day and no valuables.”
Dixit has also created a website, encouraging others to apply for citizenship.
He planned his journey over two nights in Egypt and then convinced a local driver to take him to the remote outpost, according to the Telegraph.
After making it safely, Dixit planted a flag and seeds in the desert to establish his claim.
“Following the early civilization ethics and rules, if you want to claim a land then you need to grow crops on it,” Dixit said. “I have added a seed and poured some water on it today. It is mine.”
He added, “The dawn of our nation begins as a blank slate in an arid, desolate desert. Through the charity of the world community and the disciples of modern science, we will construct the most fertile, ecologically sensitive nation on Earth.
Then he called himself a monarch.
“I am the king! (Please?) This is no joke, I own a country now! Time to write an email to UN.”
“King Dixit” is not the first person to claim the land, the paper reported. In 2014 a Virginia father travelled to Bir Tawil with the aim of making his daughter a princess of the “Kingdom of North Sudan.” It is not clear that he has pursued his claim of ownership or otherwise continued his involvement in the tract of land.
Dixit won’t have an easy time defending his claim.
“Under international law, only states can assert sovereignty over territory,” Anthony Arend, co-founder of the Institute for International Law and Politics at Georgetown University, told The Washington Post in 2014.