“Security was everywhere…” ended my last post on Egypt. Everywhere, in tourism hot-spots perhaps, but not effectively where it’s most needed—in the village of Naga al-Gisr, near Luxor, where 5,000 residents are living under the threat and terror of being blown up by a gangster and his army, as reported by Egypt Independent. Not surprisingly, the article links this entrenched and empowered criminal activity to unemployment among youth:
Ahmed Hamza and his gang have been engaging in hit-and-run battles with local police on a daily basis. Hamza has strung butane gas canisters on village lamp posts and placed others on the roofs of neighboring houses, connecting them with an electricity cable apparently capable of blowing up the village.
The village, which has turned into a nest for fugitive criminals and drug and arms dealers, has never been in such a state, said 80-year-old resident Mohamed Hassan.
Haitham Ahmed Mahmoud, 19, said some residents are informing Hamza of police patrol movements to protect him.
Hamza’s gang commits armed robbery on the Western Desert Highway, takes unemployed youths into his gang and sells arms at very low prices, said Abdel Hamid Mahmoud, 50.
Major General Ahmed Saqr, a senior security official, said Hamza and two others are the only remnants of Hambouly’s gang [Hamza is related to Yasser al-Hambouly, a renowned gangster arrested in January]. He warned the media of exaggerated stories that could turn criminals into heroes.
He said security forces are doing their best to arrest the rest of the gang, which is taking shelter in the mountains and sugar cane fields.