Bloody clashes continue in Gerga

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Aug 2011

City in the governorate of Sohag witnesses a third day of violence after a fight between a tuktuk driver from a nearby village and a shopkeeper descended into a wide scale feud

Clashes have continued for the third day in a row in the city of Gerga in the Sohag governorate, leaving more than 150 in hospital and three dead.

The clashes started two days ago when a tuktuk crashed in to a storefront. In the ensuing fight between the tuktuk driver - from the nearby village of Nag Awis -  and the store owner, the city's police station was attacked and weapons were stolen from it by an angry mob. Railway connections in and out of the city have been cut by local residents seeking revenge for their dead.

A curfew was imposed last night by the governor of Sohag, Wadah El-Hamazawy, but this hasn't stopped the violence. According to Ahram Online's correspondent in Gerga, Mahmoud Makbol, the clashes continued after the burial of the third victim.

Tensions have been exacerbated by video clips, passed on through the city via mobile phones, that show four young men from Gerga forcibly stripped naked. This has only made residents of Gerga more determined to exact revenge on the those from Nag Awis, the tuktuk driver's home village. Flyers have also been reportedly distributed in the past two days demanding justice and revenge from the citizens of Nag Awis.

Some in the city of Gerga are blaming the former NDP members in the city for igniting the violence and being responsible for these flyers.

Security forces are currently trying to restore order in Gerga. The prosecutor-general's office has already assigned a team to investigate the clash according to Ahram Online's sister Arabic site. The prosecutor's team commenced its work yesterday in Gerga and issued an arrest warrant for 15 people suspected of involvement in the clashes.

El-Hamazawy tried to hold a reconciliation session between the citizens of Gerga and Nag Awis but has so far failed in his attempts.

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