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23 dead, at least 12 injured in Aswan clashes

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After two days of violence, reconciliation and police mediation has failed; governor asks army to intervene

Inter-tribal fighting in Upper Egypt’s Aswan has left 23 dead in two days, according to the Ministry of Health.

The violence came after reconciliation and police intervention failed to quell some of the worst tribal bloodshed in recent memory, according to a Saturday statement from the Ministry of Health.

Police forces were deployed in the area to reduce tensions between the Bani Hilal and Daboudya tribes, the ministry said.

State-owned Al-Ahram Arabic reported Saturday that theThe governor of Aswan, Talib Mostafa, asked Defence Minister Sedki Sohbi to intervene and assist the police in controlling the ongoing clashes. Sohbi scheduled an urgent meeting with military leaders and urged the people involved to show restraint.

Army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali released a statement Saturday claiming that there were “signs of the involvement of elements of the Muslim Brotherhood in the strife between the two tribes.”

Sedki Sohbi also ordered the wounded from both sides to be treated in military hospitals as Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb and Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim are travelling to Aswan to help diffuse tensions, according to Al-Ahram.

Al-Ahram said 31 had been injured during the two days of clashes, while the Ministry of Interior counted 12 injured and 20 dead.

Reconciliation talks Friday devolved into an argument, the ministry reported. Gunfire broke out, leading to four deaths and nine injuries. A number of houses have also been burned.

On Saturday, residents exchanged gunfire and hurled Molotov cocktails, killing 16 and wounding three, according to the Ministry of Interior.

The clashes allegedly started after a fight broke out between two students on 2 April because of sexual harassment, although the details are unclear.

In the aftermath, tensions spiralled out of control, leading to gun battles.

Family heads are allegedly meeting to try to halt the violence as it is not immediately clear when the army will be deployed.


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