Justice Minister Ahmed Al-Zind issued a decree Monday allowing local unit heads in the Fayoum governorate to arrest citizens accused of committing violations related to illegal building.
However, the Fayoum Security Directorate said the decision does not have anything to do with the governorate’s security situation, and that security forces are the only entity responsible for fighting violence and terrorism in the city.
The authority to arrest is to be applied to violations related to illegal building, and enables officials to arrest citizens charged with building unsafe housing structures. The governorate also said that the new decision should speed up action against violators by allowing immediate interference.
A statement from the Fayoum governorate said the decision came after a request by Governor Wael Makram, submitted to the Justice Ministry, on the regulation of illegal building. This was tied into the resulting disturbances caused in sewage works, as well as electricity and water cuts. He has been leading campaigns to counter administrative violations on a weekly basis.
On the security level, Fayoum has witnessed an increase in violence between anti-government elements and security forces. On Monday, four policemen were wounded after exchanging fire with unknown assailants.
Tensions in the city have included campaigns by Special Forces to arrest alleged members of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. So far, seven suspects have been killed in such campaigns, with some families of the deceased accusing the police of killing their relatives while they were unarmed.
Commenting on the rise of violence in the city, Ezzat Ghomin, head of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), said that Fayoum follows only Sinai when it comes to violence, with the rise of extra-judicial killings and assassination attempts.
On Sunday, the governorate’s Security Director, Nasser Al-Abd, said a sound bomb exploded near a security campaign that he was leading, with no injuries reported. The Revolutionary Punishment militant group, which is the most active group in the city, claiming attacks on policemen and officials, took responsibility for the minor attack.
Recently, the power of judicial police was also handed to Cairo district heads, for similar purposes. Similar power has also been handed to Ministry of Religious Endowments employees, who are now able to arrest violators accused of discussing politics in mosques or preaching without permits from Egypt’s Sunni religious organisations.