The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, established Saturday a special committee to oversee tribal dialogues that seek to end a spate of violence that left 26 dead in Upper Egypt’s Aswan.
The committee, which will function under the auspices of Al-Azhar, was established to assist Aswan governor Mostafa Yousri and will “seek to complete a comprehensive reconciliation between the two parties”, according to state television service EGYNews.
The independent committee will also help ensure that the feuding tribes do not resort to the same kind of bloodshed witnessed in early April.
Al-Tayeb told Minister of Religious Endowment Mokhtar Gomaa: “What has happened is nothing but pride and nervous refutation of [Islamic values].” In response, Al-Tayeb called for “love and tolerance” between the two tribes.
Both the tribes in question, the Bani Hilal and the Nubian Daboudya, have supported the Al-Azhar-backed committee.
Al-Tayeb returned to Cairo Saturday, a visit following that of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb and Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, who travelled to Aswan on 5 April “to follow events on the ground” and called for reconciliation to end the violence.
The clashes erupted after an alleged fight between two students involving a case of sexual assault on 2 April. The next two days saw extensive clashes as peace talks devolved into gunfights. A number of houses were burned in the aftermath.
On 7 April, the Ministry of Interior announced that it had arrested 14 of the Bani Hilal tribe who were allegedly involved in the clashes.
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”.