The government has yet to take action against illegal construction that is too close to one of the country’s famed ancient burial sites.
Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told state-owned Al-Ahram that he had sent a memo to the armed forces to move in and keep citizens away from the area, stating that low police presence in the location proved incapable of protecting the archaeological site from encroachment.
Ibrahim said that officials had been sent in an attempt to persuade residents of Dahshur to refrain from building too close to the archaeological site, but were rebuffed.
Residents in the Giza village of Dahshur proceeded to construct a cemetery last week near the Black Pyramid, also known as the Pyramid of Amenemhat II, a tomb more than 3,500 years old.
The area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, and is one of the seven that exist in Egypt. Monica Hanna, a specialist in Egyptian archaeology who visited the historic site after the unauthorised construction had begun, pointed out that UNESCO could only condemn the actions taken, as the sites legally belong to their host countries.
The new cemetery possibly stands too close to the causeway and could potentially expand in the future, added Hanna.
Illegal encroachment on archaeological sites has reportedly increased since the revolution. Former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass called on the military to protect the sites in March 2011, claiming there had been approximately 500 encroachments over the two month period following the uprising.