23 killed in Egypt tribal clashes

Cairo, April 5: At least 23 people were killed in overnight tribal clashes in upper Egypt’s Aswan province, media reported Saturday.

The gunfight erupted Friday evening and renewed early Saturday morning between two big tribes in eastern Aswan, leaving 23 people dead and more than 30 injured, Xinhua reported citing the official MENA news agency. Several houses were also burnt down.

Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim are headed for Aswan to contain the situation.

The two tribes, Bani Helal and Ahl al-Nuba, used machine guns and Molotov cocktails during the fight while security forces fired tear gas to disperse them.

Police forces have been deployed in the area to prevent new skirmishes between the two sides.

Witnesses told Xinhua that it was impossible for the ambulances to reach the scene as the two tribes were exchanging fire continuously. The police evacuated the people living near the scene of the fighting and closed the biggest market in the area.

Traditionally, most of the big tribes in southern Egypt have owned weapons and solve disputes without involving the state.