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Losses and detainees in Beni-Sweif

Girgis Waheeb

12 Aug 2013 7:07 pm

Father Rizqallah Gouda of the church of the Archangel Michael in the village of Diabiya in Beni-Sweif, some 100km south of Cairo, told Watani that some 20 villagers, 15 Copts and five Muslims, had been wounded in the violence that erupted in the village yesterday against the Copts

Father Rizqallah Gouda of the church of the Archangel Michael in the village of Diabiya in Beni-Sweif, some 100km south of Cairo, told Watani that some 20 villagers, 15 Copts and five Muslims, had been wounded in the violence that erupted in the village yesterday against the Copts. Four of the injured had to be moved to Cairo for treatment for critical injuries, mainly the result of gunshot in the eyes.
The violence had erupted on Sunday morning following a fight over a speed bump which a Coptic villager had built in front of his house to slow down traffic for the sake of the safety children who usually played on the street. A Muslim on a motorbike had a fall as he crossed over the bump, and this led to a fight that escalated to include a large number of Muslims and Copts, and that ended in an all-out attack against the Coptic villagers
As in other villages where Copts are no minority—in Diabiya they form some 50 per cent of the population, the Muslims rallied others from nearby villages to their help. They went on a rampage, assaulting Copts and attacking and burning anything that belonged to them. They used sticks, clubs, stones, rocks, swords and daggers, knives, sickles, guns, Molotov cocktails, and fireballs. They attacked Coptic homes, stables, and fields, and burned the church. The sanctuary, altars, icons, books, benches, were all eaten up by the flames, as was the baptistery, the furnace used to bake the host bread, the bookshop and the canteen. The church is now a ruin.   
The situation was not contained till a reinforcement of security forces arrived to the village at around 6pm. Six houses were burned, as well as two shops, one mill, one vehicle, and a number of motorbikes, all Coptic-owned.
The police detained 13 men, seven Muslims and six Copts. The prosecution is conducting an investigation, but has not yet pressed charges. Another 28 men are wanted by the police.
Watani International
11 August 2013


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