Bus driver kills 6 in random act of violence

Giza police have detained and are currently investigating 46-year-old bus driver Mahmoud Taha Swellem, who opened fire on a bus full of company employees that he was driving to work this morning.

The bus had been carrying 23 employees of Egyptian construction firm Arab Contractors to their workplace in Meniel Shiha, some 20km south of Cairo.

The shooting, which took place at 8:00 AM, left six people dead and 12 lightly injured after Swellem stopped the bus roughly 200 meters from the workplace, turned around, and opened fire on passengers with an automatic rifle.

The motive for the attack–which has made international headlines–remains unclear, although AFP has quoted some of the survivors as saying Swellem had been depressed due to a job transfer.

“The driver [Swellem] has been with Arab Contractors for a long time and has an excellent record,” Ashraf Falafly, the company’s public relations director, said.

Falafly added that the driver had apparently brought the weapon onto the bus where he had hid it under the driver’s seat, suggesting the attack had been premeditated.

Police are currently holding Swellem at a Giza police station where he is expected to remain for four days, a security official told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

In Egypt, permission to own a gun must be granted by the Ministry of Interior.

“A bus driver is unlikely to get his hands on a firearm, so it’s likely that the gun was stolen,” the security official said, adding that violent incidents of this kind rarely occurred in Egypt.

Arab Contractors, which employs some 60,000 people, has extensive operations throughout the Middle East and in Africa. The company will be holding a funeral service tomorrow for the deceased employees. 

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