Four Copts, among them a child, were kidnapped yesterday 3 October in the town of Manfalout in Assiut, some 350km south of Cairo. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of EGP500,000 or else they would kill the Copts.
One of the victims’ relatives, who asked for his name to be withheld, told Watani that Assiut Security Deputy Chief advised him to pay the ransom money in order to ensure the safety of the kidnapped Copts; and that once the kidnappers were later caught the money would be found and returned to those who paid it.
The brothers Emad and Ramy Lamei who work as construction workers in Cairo had received a phone call offering them a job in Assiut. They went to Assiut where they sought help from relatives living there for directions to the work site in Zarayeb al-Ooussiya. Their relative Marzouq Ashamallah offered them a ride to get there, and his 9-year-old son Amir came along. Before reaching their destination, armed men blocked the road, kidnapped them at gunpoint, and took the car.
The Copts’ relative told Watani that on the same day his family received a phone call placed on one of the kidnapped Copts’ mobile phones, asking for a EGP500,000-ransom. The kidnapper said that should the police intervene the kidnapped men and boy would be killed. The family thus refrained from filing a police report, but informally sought the advice of Assiut Security Deputy Chief.
Later on the kidnappers again called the family who negotiated the ransom money, bringing it down to EGP200,000. The family is not rich and cannot afford such a sum which they will probably have to borrow somehow, since it is the opinion of local security specialists and human rights figures that the money has to be paid first to secure the safe return of the kidnapped men and boy. The police then attempts to catch the criminals without having to risk the safety of the kidnapped. This is standard practice in such cases since kidnapped men have been known to be killed in this part of Egypt.
4 October 2016