May 22, 2013
Speaking on Beytna El-Kebir on state television on Saturday, Coalition of Arab Tribes spokesperson Moussa El-Lahawi said the incident “hurts the reputation of the tribes.”
El-Lawahi added that he was in constant communication with the security services and was helping them search for the kidnapped men.
On Thursday, seven Egyptian security personnel – a member of the armed forces, four port security officers, and two state security officers – were kidnapped by unknown assailants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
It is not the first time since Egypt’s revolution in 2011 that confrontations have taken place between security forces and tribesmen.
Some Sinai residents seek revenge against the security forces for their heavy-handed policies under Mubarak-era interior minister Habib El-Adly, who many accuse of failing to respect human rights and tribal traditions.
Mohamed El-Asati, a member of Sinai’s Aleiqat tribe, told Ahram Online on Thursday that interior ministry policies had left a painful legacy among local tribesmen, especially under the current Muslim Brotherhood-led government.
El-Asati added, “The security apparatus do not respect tribal traditions or customs,” he said. “We have always been regarded as shepherds, drug traffickers or spies for Israel. So after the revolution, you find psychological reasons for [tribesmen’s] desires for vengeance.”
“We paid a heavy price in terms of our security and dignity in the Mubarak era … We will not allow the interior ministry’s old brutal policies to return during the era of Muslim Brotherhood rule,” he asserted.
Militants allegedly belonging to Tawhid wal-Jihad (Monotheism and Jihad) were convicted of killing five security officers and one civilian during attacks in June/July 2011 on an Al-Arish city police station and a North Sinai branch of the Bank of Alexandria. Twenty-five individuals were charged over the attacks.
A security source, who asked not to be named, stated on Thursday that the kidnappers had accused Egyptian security forces of torturing one of the detained men.
In response to the kidnapping, Egyptian policemen closed the entrance and exit gates to the port of Rafah. The protest entered its third day on Sunday.
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