Egypt ousts top officials




By Mark Huband in Cairo

Financial Times, 21 November 1997

The Egyptian government yesterday announced a big overhaul of its security apparatus in the first stage of a strategy aimed at improving the safety of tourists following Monday’s massacre of 57 foreigners by armed militants.

Twenty-three senior interior ministry officials, all but one holding the rank of general, have been moved aside or demoted by Major General Habib al-Adly, the newly appointed interior minister, whose predecessor resigned after the attack. The changes of personnel are to be followed by the introduction of a new security plan intended to improve safety at popular tourist sights. Details of the plan are expected to be finalised today.

The government’s measures were yesterday rebuked by the Gama’a al-Islamiyya, the militant group which claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, the group said: “A movement which leads a people cannot be defeated. The policy of firing and replacing ministers cannot solve the problem of the Egyptian regime.”

The group offered a possible halt in its violent campaign if its imprisoned supporters were released, its leader freed from prison in the US and Islamic law introduced in Egypt.

© Financial Times