Cairo: Somali communities suffer torture, robbery from police officers and no justice

CAIRO, EGYPT: Somalis are facing increasing mistreatment, torture and robbery from Egyptian police in the capital Cairo with no hopes for recourse as some are now forced to leave the country for Turkey.

A man identified as Mohamed who appeared in a CCTV footage this week is the latest victim of police harassment in Cairo adding to several other members of the Somali community who have had to endure mistreatment from Egyptian police.

According to the victim and members of the Somali community in Cairo, police officers from Hayi Ashir of Madinat town manhandles the man and hit him badly before taking away 46,000 Gini of Egyptian currency, his passport, a mobile phone, a jacket. The police officers later took Mohamed to a desert outside the city and left him.

COMPLAINT

Mohamed later went to Madinat Al-Nasri police station to file a complaint and to prove his case, he presented the CCTV footage from his shop showing the police harassing him. But the police would hear none of his complaints and turned him away. “They (the police) recognised the men in the footage as fellow officers and suddenly changed tune. They told me to go away and never to report the matter saying they will file drug trafficking charges against me should I file the case,” Mohamed said.

The soldiers took him to his house where they ordered him “not to take this case to other stations.’

However, this is not the first time Somali communities in Cairo are faced with such difficulties. Several such cases have happened in Madinat Al-Nasri where police rob Somalis of their property without any consequences.

The soldiers regularly arrive in Hayi Ashir where they commit robbery, torture and threats on the Somali communities. According to accounts of some Somalis in the area, the police officers have stolen from them money and taken away businesses owned by Somalis.

Only this past week, some policemen robbed a group of Somalis of money they intended to organize a book show.

TORTURE

A victim identified as Abdullahi said, “Last night, I was at Hayi Ashir when two policemen approached me and asked for my ID. I showed them but they led me by force to a jungle area where they tortured me and took from me more than 3,000 Egyptian pounds, my mobile phone and my ID card.”

When asked if he went to the police station to report, he responded, “I submitted my case, and they told me to go to a hospital and get a doctor’s report. I did all that but I don’t expect anything. Only two months ago a police officer robbed another Somali man of 30,000 and nothing was done,” said Abdullahi.

For many Somalis here, the police mistreatment goes on unabated and there is no hope for any justice.

“Last Wednesday, a Somali man was robbed USD600, while another one driving a car was stopped and robbed of 70,000 pounds and USD 1, 000,” said a man who refused to be identified for security reasons.

The only option, some Somalis here say is to leave the country. Some said they would go to Turkey while others think of just stopping business until the situation changes.

However, they are all pleading with President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi to intervene and stop the endless mistreatment against Somalia. Some said they are also appealing with Somali ambassador to Egypt and the Federal Government back in Somalia to come to their aid.

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