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Angry mobs attempt 3rd public lynching in Egypt's Gharbiya

One day after two men charged with kidnapping are killed by local residents, Gharbiya's Mahallah Ziad village comes close to witnessing second example of rough justice on Monday

Ahram Online, Monday 18 Mar 2013
Egyptian men, one holding a knife and another a bloody stick, surround the bodies of two men who were beaten and hung by vigilantes after being accused of kidnapping two boys in the small Nile Delta town of Samanod, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Cairo, Egypt, Sunday March 17, 2013 (Photo: AP)
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Views: 11144

In the second such incident in as many days, hundreds of residents of Mahallah Ziad village in Egypt's northern Gharbiya governorate on Monday surrounded a police station in an attempt to capture and publicly execute a man charged with kidnapping a local girl.

The incident comes only one day after two men accused of a similar crime were lynched in the same village.

According to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website, Central Security Forces were eventually deployed to prevent angry crowds from reaching the accused man, who was being held at the police station following his arrest.

On Sunday, Mahallah Ziad residents beat up two men who had been accused of abducting two young boys. After dragging them through the streets of the village, angry mobs stripped the two men half-naked and hung them upside down from a tree.

Security officials later confirmed that both men had died of injuries sustained during the incident.

The twin instances of vigilante justice come one week after the Egyptian attorney-general's office encouraged private citizens to arrest lawbreakers and hand them over to the authorities.

Deteriorating public security, coupled with a recent strike by police officers, prompted the attorney-general's appeal to the public to make citizens' arrests.

The latest incidents in Gharbiya represent some of the most extreme cases of vigilantism seen in the two years since Egypt's 2011 uprising, which have been accompanied by a sharp deterioration of public security.

Similar vigilante killings have been known to happen elsewhere in Egypt, though they remain an infrequent phenomenon. Citizens, however, appear to have grown bolder in taking matters into their own hands since the uprising that ousted long-time president Hosni Mubarak.

Opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei lamented rising increasing lawlessness in Egypt, which he blamed on the administration of President Mohamed Morsi.

"Public display of vigilante lynching & killing: are we losing our humanity in a lawless society?!" he declared in English on Twitter on Monday.

ElBaradei added in Arabic: "An administration that loses its responsibility, credibility and competence makes us lose our humanity."

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