Egypt governor brokers truce after deadly tribal fighting

The three-day truce calls for the release of hostages and easing of friction between the two sides

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An Arab clan and a Nubian family that fought deadly clashes in Egypt’s southern Aswan province agreed Monday to end hostilities after successful mediation efforts.

Clashes between the Bani Hilal tribesmen and the Nubian Dabudiya family erupted Friday, killing at least 26 people and wounding tens more.

The deal, which was brokered by Aswan governor Mustapha Yasri in the presence of tribal leaders, stipulates neither side launch any form of aggression during the three-day truce and that both parties release hostages taken during the recent hostilities.

The agreement, which was signed by the tribal leaders, stressed the need for limiting any potential dispute between the two sides to Aswan and calls for measures to reduce friction between the rivals.

The tribes would also be obliged to hand over any individuals suspected of involvement in the recent killings to Egyptian authorities.

According to the interior minister, the clashes between the two tribes erupted when a group of students engaged in a fight after a man sexually accosted a woman from another family.

Hilal al-Dandardawi, a former member of parliament who was engaged in the reconciliation efforts, said offensive graffiti at a school had been the catalyst for the fighting.

“The fighting was sparked by a comment from a student who belongs to the Dabudiya tribe about the presence of offensive graffiti on the stairs of the Mohammad Saleh School ... that was signed by the Bani Hilalt tribe,” Dandardawi told Alarabiya.net.

Dandardawi blamed a third, unspecified party of being behind the graffiti with the objective of driving the two tribes into a confrontation.

He said different graffiti – some offensive to the Bani Hilal tribe, others to the Dabudiya tribes – had been drawn using the same color and font.

Mohammad Idris, an eye-witness, told Alarabiya.net the tribal tensions had been simmering between the tribes since 2010.

Idris said the escalation Friday came only days after the accosting of a woman and a brawl between members of the two tribes near a bakery in the area.

“That was followed by the graffiti by members of the Bani Hilal with offensive language against the and Army and [Abdel Fatah] Sisi on the school steps which students belonging to the Nubian tribe responded to by drawing graffiti supporting the army and Sisi,” he said.

“That’s when the clash erupted between them which led to the death and wounding of tens [of people],” he added.