The looting is part of a crime wave that has gripped Egypt since Jan. 28, when the police mysteriously disappeared from most of the country following deadly clashes with the anti-government protesters. The army was called out to restore order, but it has been unable to fully take on a policing role.
The police have yet to fully retake the streets, leaving a security vacuum in which criminals, including several thousand inmates who escaped prisons, are operating with impunity in parts of the country. The police force is widely hated for years of abuse against Egyptians and because of its brutal crackdown on protesters. Only about 50 percent of the police force is thought to have returned to work and there are reports that hundreds of officers want to quit.
Archaeology sites have chronically been a soft target for thieves because of their isolated location and the relative ease with which lowly paid guards can be bribed to look the other way.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
More heritage management problems in Egypt
Aol News (Hamza Hendawi)