A conciliation agreement was reached yesterday in the village of al-Ula in Amreya, 30km southwest Alxandria, between the Coptic family of Makanouti and the Houti Arabs—‘Arab’ is the common name Egyptians use to denote the desert dwellers.
The Houtis had seized a 10-feddan plot of land legally owned by the Makanoutis, and had in two separate incidents resisted police efforts to hand over the land to the Makanoutis as per a court order. They turned the dispute into a sectarian issue and attacked the Copts in the village. At the same time they threatened they would kill the Makanoutis if they did not leave the village. [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/sectarian/amreya-copts-threatened-leave-or-well-kill-you/14729/]
The ‘conciliation’, a traditional out of court settlement worked out by the elders of the community and considered binding to the disputing parties, was orchestrated by the local politician Abdel-Moniem Ragheb who also represented the Makanoutis. The agreement reached imposes a four-month truce during which no member of any of the disputing clans may lay foot on the land. Since the land borders the local church of Mar-Girgis (St George), the Makanoutis should not cross it to go to the church. The Makanoutis, represented by Mr Ragheb, signed the agreement, saying it acts as a goodwill gesture and a truce that would extend four months, after which they should be handed their land. They said they would attend another church at a nearby village during the period of the truce.
The Houtis, who did not attend the conciliation session, have not yet signed the agreement.
4 October 2015