By Menna Zaki
An attempt to smuggle 22 pages of a rare manuscript out of Egypt by a representative of an exporting company has been thwarted, the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigation Department announced.
The pages, taken from “Déscription de l’Égypte”, were disguised under a bill of lading describing them as seven parcels of personal effects weighing 771kgs.
They were set to be exported to an unidentified Arab country by the export company employee identified only as Hussien AM, according to a ministry statement released Monday.
The ministry coordinated with the Customs Authority to inspect the parcels, which contained 22 pages of the book, 18 frames containing pages from the book, and an antique carpet.
The ministry said the smuggled pages came from Cairo’s Institute for Scientific Research, which was established 200 years ago.
In December 2011, a fire in the institute resulted in the loss of several precious manuscripts, considered among the most important historical works of the 19th century. Nearly 30,000 books were rescued from the fire out of a total of around 196,000, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
“Déscription de l’Égypte”, which was kept in the institute, was lost amid the fire.
The book was a series of publications that were written during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Egypt in 1798. The series appeared first in 1809, initially compiled by a team of French scientists who accompanied the invasion.