Authorities move to preempt Bedouin Sinai conference

Security forces increased their presence along the roads of the central Sinai Peninsula on Sunday in an effort to prevent a conference from being held by wanted Bedouin fugitives.

Police set up numerous checkpoints along roads in the area to ensure that Bedouin delegates–as well as media representatives–did not make it to the event.

Conference organizers, for their part, declared that they wanted the “blockade of Central Sinai villages” lifted, the release of Bedouin detainees and the overturning of in-absentia sentences against Bedouin fugitives currently hiding out in Sinai.

Bedouin fugitive Musa el-Dalah said that the act of preventing journalists from attending the conference could lead to “escalatory measures” on the part of the Bedouin. “If the authorities continue detaining journalists, we will be forced to close the El-Auga border crossing” between Egypt and Israel, he said.

In related news, opposition MP Mustafa Bakri on Sunday called for an emergency session of parliament’s national security committee, to be attended by the prime minister, defense minister, local development minister and North Sinai governor Mohamed Murad Mawafi.

Bakri said the session should focus on recent remarks by Mawafi, in which the latter was said to have accused the Bedouin of treason and of working in the interests of Israel. “The remarks were an insult to the Sinai Bedouin,” the MP stated.

“The governor said he had important information about ‘schemes’ that threaten Sinai, adding that, if he revealed them, ‘the world would be turned upside down’,” reads a request for information filed by Bakri. “Therefore, it is incumbent on the governor to immediately disclose this information at an emergency session of the national security committee.”

The request goes on to state: “According to statements attributed to Mawafi, the governor accused tribal leaders in Sinai of being corrupt, which is a matter that demands questioning and a bringing to account in front of parliament.”

“If some tribal leaders are suspected of wrongdoing, then the governor should identify them by name,” the request states.

Bakri said he had expected Mawafi to deny having made the remarks, noting that the absence of such a denial the following day served to confirm the authenticity of the statements.

In other news, Israel notified Egyptian authorities on Sunday that it had detained three Egyptian nationals for allegedly smuggling drugs into Israel.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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