Egyptian activists are holding a symbolic funeral on Friday in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square for a 10-year-old boy who is said to be mistakenly shot by a soldier last week in the country’s capital, an online website reported.
The young boy, Omar Salah, was a sweet potato seller who circulated Tahrir Square and its nearby areas to earn money to support his family. He was reportedly shot by an army soldier at a security checkpoint near the U.S. embassy on Feb. 3, reported Ahram Online.
Military spokesman Ahmed Ali formally apologized on Thursday in a Facebook statement for the “unintentional killing of Salah.”
“Egypt’s armed forces remain committed to follow correct legal procedures,” he said, adding that “the commander of the unit reported the incident to civil police as soon as it happened so as to complete the required legal investigation.”
The armed forces recognize its “legal and moral responsibility” to the slain boy and his family, the spokesman said, confirming that the offender was sent to military prosecution for necessary investigations.
A number of social media activists circulated images of Salah’s body in a morgue. A Facebook page called “we are all child martyr Omar Salah” grabbed many likers on the social website.
The exact details of the accident are unknown yet and had caused confusion among some human rights activists. It was initially thought that Salah was killed by Central Security Forces (CSF) conscript. This prompted the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) to issue a statement blaming the interior ministry for the boy’s death.
The incident, however, reflects the dilemma of child labor in Egypt, which remains one of its main challenges as the country builds itself after the 2011 uprising.