Feature: Security deteriorating in Egypt due to political instability

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The growing number of carjacking in post-upheaval Egypt does not only afflict car owners and taxi drivers but extends to hit senior officials whose own vehicles have been subjected to armed robbery, such as the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), the Governor of Kafr el-Sheikh governorate and ironically a police vehicle that belongs to the head of Giza Police Department.

Security experts believe that the deteriorating security due to political instability and constant chaotic protests, besides tension between the public and the police due to alleged long-time suppression and police brutality, were to blame for the increasing rate of carjacking over the past two years in turmoil-stricken Egypt.

"The upheaval and the police and security absence showed a category of people who wanted to get rich quickly and who saw that carjacking, along with armed robbery and weapon smuggling, were the fastest means for that," security expert General Abdel-Moneim Kato told Xinhua.

Kato believes that combating carjacking has to do with political stability and restoration of police strength and spirit that were damaged when protesters attacked police stations nationwide during the uprising in early 2011.

"Today, if a police officer is killed by a criminal in a protest it is ok, but if a policeman insults a criminal, the human rights organizations will keep talking about it day and night," Kato exclaimed, demanding temporary absence of human right claims until system is restored.

"What is being defended now is criminal rights not human rights, " he added.

Since the upheaval that toppled former regime, carjacking reports have not stopped, as carjackers create new ways to commit their crimes.

They usually lie in wait in remote, quiet places mostly at night in search for a victim, or get master keys for new cars and try them with those parking in less populous areas, equipped with arms in both cases.

After the robbery, a carjacker sometimes gets the cell phone number of the victim and call them later for a ransom.

Mohamed Adel, 28, was driving his taxi when three armed men opened the doors and asked him to drive along. Two of the carjackers were holding guns and the third held a knife, and when the car reached a quieter place, they made the driver get off and they took the car and vanished.

Ayman Abdel-Barr, a 50-year-old taxi driver was stopped by three young men late on a dark road in Cairo and in the middle of the way they threatened Abdel-Barr with arms and got all the money he had but fortunately they left him the car.

"Perhaps they thought the road was not dark enough or suitable enough to hijack the car. I praise Allah anyway that they only took the money, as the taxi was not mine," the driver told Xinhua.

Lieutenant colonel Satie al-Nomani of Boulak al-Dakrour Police Station in Giza echoed Kato's opinion that the loose security was one of the main reasons for growing carjacking, yet he affirmed that the police managed to return 80 percent of the stolen cars to their owners.

"It is normal that any upheaval is followed by loose security conditions but now things are getting back to normal and the carjacking phenomenon is diminishing," al-Nomani told Xinhua.

He added that the police anti-carjacking plan did not change and it had been in effect for a long time, "but the partial deteriorating security conditions were the reason behind increasing hijackings."

As the police managed to arrest most of hijackers, especially those who robbed police and government vehicles, al-Nomani reassured that "things are now returning to its normal course." Endi

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