File Photo: Egypt's interior minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar in a press conference in Cairo (Photo: AP)
Egypt’s interior minister, Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar, decided early Thursday to suspend and refer a police officer to prosecution for shooting a microbus driver in Cairo’s Al-Nozha neighbourhood.
In an official statement, the ministry said police officer Ahmed Samir Nasar, who works at the ministry’s general directorate for information and documentation. shot an unnamed microbus driver in the thigh after a verbal dispute “that escalated to a fight due to the driver’s obstruction of the road.”
The ministry added that a number of microbus drivers colleagues intervened to “support their friend, therefore assaulting the police officer and injuring him in a way that led him to use his weapon and open fire.”
The injured microbus driver was transferred to hospital.
Earlier Wednesday, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported that a quarrel took place between Nasar and the microbus driver and his assistant over the fare at the microbus stop, where the driver and his colleague assaulted the officer, leading Nasar to use his weapon.
The latest shooting incident comes only a week after a low-ranking policeman shot dead a street vendor over the price of a cup of tea in New Cairo.
He was referred to criminal court by the prosecution Wednesday on a murder charge.
In February, another low-ranking policeman killed a driver in the working class Cairo district of El-Darb El-Ahmar following a dispute over a fare.
He was sentenced to life in prison Saturday, one of the harshest sentences issued to a policeman convicted of similar violent crimes.
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed last week during a meeting with the interior minister and his aides the importance of holding accountable those who commit wrongdoings, whether policemen or citizens, and to prosecute them according to the law.
The interior ministry said such incidents are “isolated” and that they have drafted legislative amendments that would regulate the performance of the security services, stressing that they would apply to the entire police force, not only low-ranking policemen.
The amendments have been referred to parliament but have not yet been voted on.