Bedouin angry over Egypt shooting

Police officers briefly held hostage amid protests over shooting dead of tribesman.

    Bedouin tribesmen have repeatedly complained about police harassment [Reuters]

    Hundreds of demonstrators surrounded a police post in the small town of Madfouna, injuring at least four police officers.

    A Reuters news agency photographer at the scene said Bedouin had looted the post and set several fires.

    On Monday, police opened fire on a vehicle driven by "two Bedouin suspects" who they say ignored orders to stop. One was killed and the other wounded.

    The dead man was identified as a drug dealer by the state news agency MENA, although the tribesmen deny that allegation.

    The 250km Egyptian-Israeli border has become a major transit route for migrants, asylum-seekers and drug smugglers, with some Bedouin involved in the trafficking.

    'Harassment'

    The Bedouin inhabitants of the Sinai peninsula have repeatedly complained that they are subjected to regular searches and harassment by security officials, and that police regularly arrest tribesman.

    Relations between the Egyptian authorities and Bedouin have always been strained, but deteriorated futher following a spate of bombings at popular tourist destinations in the region between 2004 and 2006.

    Police blamed the attacks on a group of Bedouin and thousands of tribesmen were subsequently arrested.

    Around 200,000 formerly nomadic Bedouin live in northern Sinai. 

    The Egyptian authorities have regularly promised to pump resources into impoverished northern Sinai, which has one of the country's highest unemployment rate.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.