[QODLink]
Middle East
Egypt vows crackdown on 'deviant groups'
Ruling military council blames enemies at home and abroad for Egypt's economic woes and security problem.
Last Modified: 13 May 2011 23:42
The military council faced its most serious challenge last week when 12 people died in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba [AFP]

Egypt's interim ruling military council has vowed to use all means to crack down on what it called "deviant groups" threatening stability and security.

"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces warns this deviant group ... that it will use all its resources to confront and completely destroy this phenomenon as soon as possible," the council said in a statement on Friday.

The announcement follows widespread complaints that the military, which took over after Hosni Mubarak was forced from power by pro-democracy unrest in February, has been slow to deal with a breakdown in security in which remnants of the old regime, Islamists and other groups have sewn fear and strife in Egypt.

Egypt has witnessed a sharp rise in attacks on police stations, hospitals and houses of worship, sometimes in broad daylight, since the autocratic Mubarak stepped down.

The military council faced its most serious challenge last week when 12 people died in sectarian strife in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba, which many Egyptians blamed on conservative Islamists, known as Salafists, and former Mubarak loyalists.

The statement said Egypt's economic woes and security problems were engineered by enemies "inside and outside the country". It singled out attacks on police stations and those spreading rumours to stir sectarian strife.

The statement said severe punishments were being mooted against criminals, including the first death penalty since the February revolution. It gave no details.

Hundreds of mostly Christian protesters have been camping outside Egypt's main state television building in central Cairo, demanding that those behind the Imbaba attack, in which a church was burned down, be brought to justice.

Freeing activists

The military council earlier said it would review legal procedures used to try young activists detained after Mubarak's fall and free some of them, a move that would meet some of the demands made by anti-corruption activists.

Many demonstrators have accused the army of arresting anti-corruption protesters in March and April when they defied a military curfew and camped out in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of the protests that toppled Mubarak and a major thoroughfare in the traffic-choked capital.

"The Egyptian Supreme Military Council will review the legal procedures of the trials of all the revolution's youths, especially those arrested in March and April," the council said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. "All honest youths of the revolution will immediately be freed."

The army has enjoyed broad support since taking control on February 11 after Mubarak stepped down, but there have been increasing complaints that while some protesters were still being held, it was foot-dragging in bringing Mubarak to trial.

Mubarak's arrest was ordered in April but he remains in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.