CAIRO: Candidates intending to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections from various political groups in Sinai convened Monday and pledged to adopt agreed upon solutions to limit violence against residents of Sinai.
Gathering in Sheikh Zuwayed and calling themselves People of Sinai Against Violence, representatives of both mainstream and opposition parties, such as the National Democratic Party, Al Wafd party and Tagammu party, met to formulate a set of solutions to curb violence in the peninsula.
Democratic Front Party parliamentary candidate and member of the Sawarkeh tribe Mohamed El-Menei told Daily News Egypt before the meeting, “We will be looking for solutions and will include them in a closing statement and the candidates will promise to adopt them in case they win in the People’s Assembly.”
Residents of Sinai, specifically members of the Bedouin tribes, have long spoken out against severe crackdowns on them by the state authorities and security forces stationed in the peninsula.
Recent troubles between Bedouins and police have led to shoot outs, tense stand-offs and security raids in Central Sinai. The constant clashes between police and Bedouins, and sometimes between Bedouin tribes is the impetus behind the meeting.
Some of the solutions being proposed and which should be called for in the People’s Assembly by successful candidates include that the method of choosing the head “Sheikh” of any tribe. He should be chosen by members of the tribe and not appointed by the government.
Another proposed solution is that officers stationed in Sinai must be knowledgeable of Bedouin ways, and must not be insulting when dealing with residents.
Furthermore, “Carrying weapons is an old Bedouin tradition, it’s a tribal heritage but we must limit its usage and the tribes must get together to agree that they will not use weapons against each other,” El-Menei said.
Participants in the meeting also called for equal application of the law against everyone in Sinai, whether Bedouin or policeman and that there should not be a disparity in the sentencing of one vis-à-vis the other regarding the same crime.