Bedouin leaders want new pact with government

Tribal leaders from the North Sinai Governorate have called for a new agreement between local tribes and the government aimed at achieving stability, preventing further deterioration of the Bedouins’ relationship with Cairo, and promoting development in the area.

Speaking at a conference of Bedouin leaders held Saturday in the coastal city of Al-Arish, former People’s Assembly Deputy Suliman el-Zamlut stated that every tribe had designated land on which other tribes should not trespass. He added that an armed force should be allowed to protect each tribe’s land and its resources, such as oil, water and electricity lines. Most importantly, all tribes ought to work to together to resolve their problems, he said.

Sitting MP Fayez Abu Harb stated that North Sinai was in need of more development. Along with other tribal leaders, Abu Harb demanded that the Interior Ministry release Bedouin detainees in its custody, annul rulings in absentia against Bedouin fugitives, and improve its treatment of Bedouin at police checkpoints.

Shura Council Deputy Atiya Abu Qardud agreed that the only way to achieve security in the North Sinai region was through stepped-up development of the area. He said he would entrust Salem el-Akash, chairman of the governorate’s local council, with preparing a list of Bedouin detainees and those sentenced in absentia to be presented to the North Sinai Security Director. Qardud hoped the list would expedite the release of detainees and a review of fugitives’ sentences.

In related news, North Sinai police said they had confiscated a cache of weapons and explosives near the Egyptian-Gaza border north of the border city of Rafah. Police stated that the weapons had been intended for smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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