Stolen ancient Egyptian statues recovered
Gang leader hides ancient Egyptian statues stolen last night prompting antiquities administration to speak to Ahram Online about the critical need to replace the ex-antiquities minister
Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 20 Mar 2011
Within 24 hours the Antiquities and Tourism Police, in collaboration with the Military Police Forces, succeeded in retrieving the two ancient Egyptian statues stolen yesterday from a warehouse on Luxor’s West Bank.
The statues were found hidden inside the home of Ahmed El Zot, the head of an armed gang, who is infamous for his dishonesty. Three other members of the gang are also in custody.
Mansour Boreik, supervisor of Luxor’s monuments, relates that last night an armed gang attacked the warehouse of the European/Egyptian excavation mission of Amenhotep III’s temple. The gang members gave the guards anaesthetic shots, tied them up and entered the warehouse with ease. They stole a bust of the lioness god, Sekhmet, deity of war and another granite statue of an ancient Egyptian god. They also broke several while escaping with the goods.
Boreik said that the police came onto the site immediately and with comprehensive investigations succeeded in catching the head of the gang and three other members.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, the director of the central administration for antiquities in Alexandria and Lower Egypt, launches an appeal through Ahram Online for the Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to appoint a minister or head for the Antiquities Department, regardless if the position is an actual minister of state of an independent authority affiliated with the government.
“Egypt’s antiquities are in great danger,” said Abdel Maqsoud, adding that “we have to protect and safeguard it from looting and looters.”
Also the administrative works, said Abdel Maqsoud, have been halted, considering there is no leader to take to take decisions on antiquities and continue works.