A vigilante mob gathered and beat to death two men who tried to rob a truck in the village of Shubra Malkan near the Greater Mahalla centre in Gharbeya on Sunday night.
“The villagers beat up two thieves and threw them in the canal. One had already died of his wounds and the other died in the canal,” an Al-Dostour Party member in Greater Mahalla told Daily News Egypt.
Citizens in the village of Mahallet Ziyad in Gharbeya severely beat two men accused of stealing auto rickshaws before lynching them on poles and leaving them to die earlier on Sunday.
The men’s bodies showed signs of torture and were covered in blood. The incident was documented in a series of photos taken by bystanders, which spread through social media. Members of the crowd appeared to be holding knives and long wooden boards.
Several villagers claimed the two men were responsible for a series of child kidnaps, while others said they were planning to use the auto rickshaws to kidnap a woman who escaped due to the villagers’ intervention.
The men who died were not arrested, questioned, or tried for their alleged crimes. The incidents come a week after the Prosecutor General’s office released a statement urging Egyptians to utilise the powers of citizen arrest given to them by a 1950s law.
Police officials could not get to the scene of the crime to stop the lynching, citing the fact that the roads in and near Mahalla were blocked by microbus drivers protesting the diesel fuel shortages.
Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki said the incident meant the “death of the state” and that a government that is unable to provide security is an “unjust” one.