A quarrel between an army pilot and a policeman on Tuesday in Menufiya turned large scale as a police station and prosecution office fell under siege.
A policeman stopped a car asking the driver for his licence, but the driver refused saying he is an army pilot. This led to a quarrel that quickly turned physical, Menufiya-based journalist Ahmed Aggour told Daily News Egypt.
Aggour said the army officer initiated the physical altercation and the policeman responded in kind. The quarrel continued with the officer pulling out his firearm before policemen ganged up on him and detained him at the police station.
Army police, deployed near the administrative building of Menufiya University where the incident happened, gathered outside Shebin El-Koum’s police unit demanding the pilot be handed over by the police.
The police unit filed a report to the general prosecution on the incident. Policemen gathered outside the prosecution office demanding the release of their colleague as he was being interrogated on the incident. The prosecution referred the report to military prosecution due to the involvement of military personnel, according to Aggour.
Shebin El-Koum’s police station commissioner Wael El-Gohary referred to the police unit when he was asked by Daily News Egypt to comment on the incident. The unit’s chief was not available to answer.
Menufiya governor Hisham Abdel Basit told Daily News Egypt the issue had later been resolved, saying: “The report will proceed through prosecution normally and the issue was solved friendly and respectfully.”
Fights between military and police personnel over trivial issues have been recurrent, and usually escalate in try to prove power. In March 2014, a quarrel over a parking spot between a police officer and a military conscript turned into a small clash, that witnessed the usage of tear gas by both sides.
Military personnel in Egypt can only be arrested and interrogated by military police and military prosecution.
The status of Egypt’s army illustrates its great autonomy as upon the approval of the 2014 constitution, following the ouster of civilian government of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, the president of Egypt appoints the defence minister. It is the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), however, that has the right to approve the candidate that will head the 23 top army leaders council.