CAIRO: After almost two weeks of turbulence and rioting in Al-Arish in Sinai because of tensions coming to the fore in a dispute between Bedouins and city-dwellers, those living in the desert have made it quite clear they do not intend to be oppressed much longer.
“We have tasted freedom, dignity and to be human. We will never go back again. We have suffered enough, we will not accept living under more oppression, Sheikh Moussa Al-Dilh tribal elder and spokesman for the Bedouin, who hails from the Tarabeen tribe told Daily News Egypt.
Al-Dilh was speaking after clashes between his tribe and the Fawakhriya tribe in Al-Arish, which then led to the Fawakhriya rioting in protest over the unwillingness of security forces to step in and protect them.
However, the tribal leader believes the calls for harsher security measures on Bedouins are for entirely different, and less noble, reasons.
“They want the return of the oppressive security crackdown on the Bedouins because that’s how they made their money since we couldn’t go into town, Al-Dilh said, “they would buy products from us and sell it for ten times the price in the city.
“Now that the Bedouins have reached an agreement with the government and things are better, we have gone into the city and realized what has been going on, he added.
An Egyptian court in Al-Arish agreed the release of 86 people on Wednesday taken into custody after the riots and dropped charges against them of rioting and destroying public property. However, four members of the Tarabeen clan remain in custody pending further investigation.
“We have received assurances from the security forces and local government that there would be no extraordinary procedures in the case of the four members, and that they would be investigated with normal legal measures, Al-Dilh said.
Additionally, Al-Dilh and other Bedouin leaders met with Fawakhriya elders in the presence of the governor of North Sinai on Wednesday to maintain the peace after the release of the people involved in the riots.
However, the Bedouin tribesmen did have a pop at the Fawakhriya for being responsible for the violence that took place.
“Who created the havoc and rioting? It wasn’t from us, but from the townspeople. They attacked the college in Al-Arish, where everybody learns, Al-Dilh said, “we were never barbaric, we didn’t smash cars. We asked for our rights in a civilized manner.
He added that had this been a dispute between “true Bedouins, none of this would have happened.
“Before there were governments here in Sinai, there was a law, a code here in the desert. If there are tensions between two tribes, there is a certain way in which matters are resolved, he said.