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Cablegate: North Sinai Local Council Discusses Security

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #0080 0141244
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 141244Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4733

S E C R E T CAIRO 000080

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/14/2020
TAGS: PGOV KCRM
SUBJECT: NORTH SINAI LOCAL COUNCIL DISCUSSES SECURITY
PROBLEMS

REF: CAIRO 37

Classified By: Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Stephen P. O'Dowd for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(S) Key Points: -- The North Sinai local council recently met to discuss the declining security situation in the region. The councilmen expressed concern over the increased availability of weapons, arbitrary arrests and lack of central government response to the killing of a prominent North Sinai resident. -- The council supports increased involvement of the Egyptian military, tribal sheikhs and local leaders to control the violence. -- Councilmen insist that Egyptian security improve its treatment of local citizens and take steps to control corruption.

2.(S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX provided post with a readout of the January 11 council meeting in El Arish on the security situation in North Sinai in the wake of recent attacks and demonstrations (reftel). The meeting was attended by XXXXXXXXXXXX

3.(S) The council expressed concern about the proliferation and increased use of weapons in North Sinai. The councilmen condemned the arbitrary arrests of 35 individuals as a result of last week's attack and encouraged the North Sinai Governorate to stop the practice and involve tribal sheikhs and local leaders in resolving the attacks and bringing the "real criminals" to justice. The council expressed frustration that "the central government had not responded to the attacks in North Sinai in the same manner that it did in Nag Hammadi, where ministers were quick to visit and the Prosecutor General launched an immediate investigation."

4.(S) The council recommended that the Egyptian military be used to control the security situation in North Sinai, if the Ministry of Interior's (MOI) police are unable to maintain control. However, councilmen insisted that "security's treatment of the local population improve and steps be taken to control rampant corruption within the security services." The council supported Egyptian Army operations in central Sinai because "the MOI is ineffective due to the harsh nature of central Sinai Bedouin and the challenges of pursuing suspected criminals in central Sinai." The councilmen vowed to continue meeting on a regular basis until the security situation is resolved. SCOBEY

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