After six hours of investigations at the Malawi National Museum (MNM) in the Upper Egyptian city of Al-Minya, an archaeology committee reveals that the museum has been almost completely looted amid political unrest on the streets.
The head of the Museums department at the Ministry of State of Antiquities (MSA) Ahmad Sharaf told Ahram Online that 1040 of the 1089 artefacts that make up the MNM collection have so far been reported missing, although investigations are not yet complete.
Ancient Egyptian statues, too large and heavy to carry out from the museum, show evidence of being deliberately damaged. Sharaf continues revealing the initial investigation results.
Once the committee completes the investigations, missing artefacts will be put on UNESCO's red list to avoid being illegally smuggled and sold on the international antiquities market.
An MSA employee was shot dead in the museum when pro-Morsi protesters broke into the museum Thursday, and MSA Minister Mohamed Ibrahim tells Ahram Online he sends his deepest condolences to the family.
On Wednesday, Egypt witnessed nationwide violence that left over 500 dead and thousands injured after police cleared sit-ins by supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi at Rabaa Al-Adawiya in Cairo’s Nasr City district and Al-Nahda Square in Giza. Deadly clashes erupted across the country, including in Al-Minya where the MNM, neighbouring the Malawi police station, was severly damaged and looted by rioters and pro-Morsi protesters.
Ibrahim described the attack as an "indecent action" and decried the perpetrators for burning the "nation's heritage and treasures." He also calls on all Egyptian citizens to stand against the erasure of the nation’s heritage - not just protecting its archaeological sites and museums, but all of the country’s official and historic buildings as well.
The MNM displays a large collection of an important span of ancient Egyptian history – from Graeco-Roman artefacts to monotheistic Pharaoh Akhenaton - discovered in Al-Minya archaeological sites of Tel El-Amarna and Ashmounein.
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