Nation & World

Southern Egypt tribal fighting leaves 23 dead, 50 wounded

Feuding between an Arab tribe and a Nubian family left 23 killed in the southern Egyptian province of Aswan, leading the nation’s military to intervene.

At least 50 were injured in clashes between the Bani Hilal tribesmen and Nubian villagers, the Health Ministry said by email. Fighting initially started as a graffiti war between students from the rival sides at a local school, the Interior Ministry said in AN emailed statement.

The rival factions attended a reconciliation meeting on Thursday and an argument broke out. It became a firefight that killed four, according to the Interior Ministry. The next day renewed fighting left dozens more dead or wounded.

Ibrahim Abdeen, a Nubian resident and activist, said the fighting escalated after members of the Arab tribe killed three Nubians during Friday prayers.

“This isn’t the first time Nubians were subjected to such harassments and attacks and the police is never there to protect us,” Abdeen said by phone.

Aswan Governor Mostafa Yosri called for the army to intervene and assist local police in containing the violence, state-run news website Ahram Gate reported.

The crisis is being contained after armed forces intervened “amid indications that the Muslim Brotherhood elements are involved in igniting the strife,” Egyptian army spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali said in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday.

The government has intensified a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, designated a terrorist group, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. While the group has been blamed by the government for violence escalating in the countryside, the Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly said it’s committed to peaceful activism.