AFRICA/EGYPT – Assiut, police operation against the abduction of Copts

Monday, 3 February 2014

Assiut (Agenzia Fides) - The Egyptian security forces in the first days of February carried out a huge operation in the city of Assiut to dismantle an organized crime network that for months organized kidnappings, robberies and extortion against the local Coptic community. This was confirmed to Fides Agency by the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Assiut, Kyrillos William who sees a decisive change of pace in the intervention carried out by the local police. "For months and months", explains Anba Kyrillos "Coptic families and entire communities in Assiut and the province have lived in anguish. kidnappings took place every day. Recently, the brother of one of our priests was also kidnapped, who is a pharmacist. The perpetrators of these crimes were known to all, but when the Copts claimed and reported them to the security forces, nothing happened. I have just found out that the commander of police in the province has been discharged. Probably this measure is a sudden signal against the inaction of the police who had so far favored the impunity of criminal behavior".
Police operations have involved, in particular some of the villages along the banks of the Nile where in recent months whole Copt family clans also had to "pre-emptively" pay sums of money under the threat of violent reprisals. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 03/02/2014)