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163 Aswan residents sent to court for "mass murder" - Daily News Egypt

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163 Aswan residents sent to court for “mass murder”

Clashes between two tribes in April had left 25 dead and dozens injured

Egyptian security forces deploy on a street to secure the southern city of Aswan late on 6 April 2014  (AFP Photo)
Egyptian security forces deploy on a street to secure the southern city of Aswan late on 6 April 2014
(AFP Photo)

Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred 170 involved in Aswan clashes to its criminal court on Monday.

Clashes between the Arab Bani Hilal and Nubian Daboudia tribes erupted on 4 April and left 25 dead and tens injured. Eighty-two of the arrested are from Daboudia, while 81 are from Bani Hilal. Prosecution also ordered the arrest of 97 others and sending them to court.

Those in custody are accused of premeditated murder, resisting authorities, arson, theft, abduction, and possession of weapons. State owned TV accused them of committing “mass murder”.

The prosecution had inspected the corpses, as well as 65 houses, 8 stores, 9 vehicles and 4 cattle fields, and listened to 47 witnesses along with photographs and videos as evidence.

Allegedly the tribes began clashes after an incident of sexual harassment that had caused a fight between two students on 2 April. More recent investigations have suggested that several boys from Daboudia wrote offensive phrases to the other tribe on a school wall, starting the fight. The ensuing violence extended over days as peace talks devolved into gunfights.

Eighteen Bani Hilal members were killed, four with gunshot wounds and 10 with various stab wounds.

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb formed a reconciliation committee after conducting a dialogue session in Aswan on 12 April after the clashes escalated. Previous reconciliation efforts and police intervention had failed to quell the tribal bloodshed, but the two tribes eventually agreed on a three day truce ahead of Al-Tayeb’s visit to the southern governorate.

On 5 April, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb and Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, travelled to Aswan to call for reconciliation to end the violence.

The Ministry of Interior announced on 7 April, that it had arrested 14 members of the Bani Hilal tribe. The next week police forces arrested two other men thought to have been involved in the clashes.

The torching of a house by Bani Hilal men on 26 June, leaving two member of the Daboudia tribe death, led to new clashes that threatened to undo the three-month old truce. The men responsible for torching the house were arrested and charged with murder.

On 29 June security officials in Aswan arrested two more men accused of being responsible for the new outburst of clashes.

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