x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Bedouin shoot policeman in protests

Bedouin, protesting against the killing of a tribesman in a shoot-out with police, wounded a policeman in a drive-by shooting.

Bedouin gunmen shot and wounded an Egyptian policeman in Sinai today, as it emerged the tribesmen had seized dozens of guns and thousands of bullets during two days of protests. Bedouin angered by the death in a shoot-out of one of their number launched violent protests in the peninsula on Tuesday, including seizing a police station. Peaceful protests continued on Wednesday. One protest saw Bedouin take 72 automatic rifles, 20,000 bullets as well as walkie-talkies and night-vision goggles, from another police station, in Wadi al Azareq, north-central Sinai, a security official told AFP.

Three Bedouin died and 30 policemen were wounded during Tuesday's protest at Wadi al-Azareq, the official said. "Security forces are looking for the missing equipment," the official said. In El Matala, close to the Israeli border, Bedouin gunmen wounded a policeman in a drive-by shooting today. Mohammed Mustafa Bandari, 22, was hit in the leg by three bullets and taken to hospital in stable condition, the official said.

The Bedouin were protesting against the killing of a tribesman in a shoot-out with police on Monday. In July, the detention of one of their number in the Sinai without charge saw hundreds of Bedouin burn tyres and block roads in protest. A spate of bombings that hit popular tourist destinations in Sinai between 2004 and 2006 led to massive sweeps of the peninsula, with thousands of Bedouin being arrested.

The Egyptian government has regularly promised to pump money into the impoverished north Sinai and several attempts have been made in recent months to broker a rapprochement between the authorities and the Bedouin. * AFP