Earlier this month the Copt Emad Megallaa Abdel-Malak, 44, and his son John, 10, were reported missing in the town of Mallawi in Minya some 230km south of Cairo.
According to rights activist Ezzat Ibrahim of the Egyptian Centre for Human Rights, Malak resides in Cairo but travels frequently to Mallawi where he owns a house and where he works as a distributor of water pumps. He is used to drive by his clients to deliver the pumps to them.
On 2 July Malak went on his usual rounds to distribute the pumps; his son John was with him in the car. They never returned home. The car was found intact, abandoned on the roadside in the district of Sheikh Hussein in Mallawi. Since it is obvious that whoever left the car there had no intention of robbing its contents, it is presumed that the two Copts were kidnapped, probably for ransom money. Their family, however, has not been yet contacted by anyone on that score.
Some two weeks earlier, a young mother from the village of Deir al-Garanos in Maghagha which is also in Minya, was reported missing together with her two teenage children.
The pedlar Salah Y. reported to the police that he returned home form his rounds on 19 June to find that his 35-year-old wife Samia F.M. and their children Reda, 15, and Mirna, 12, were not there. They never came back, and Salah says he got a phone call that demanded EGP500,000 in ransom. But he got no more calls he said. Maghagha police are investigating the case.
7 July 2016