Traffic And ‘Criminal Hotbeds’ Top Priorities For Egypt’s Reappointed Interior Minister

Egypt’s interior minister – reappointed in a new cabinet that was sworn-in on Sunday – says he will focus on rooting out criminals, alleviating Cairo’s traffic problems and regulating unauthorised street vendors.

A new cabinet which retained most of its previous positions was sworn-in on Tuesday by the country’s newly elected President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in an early morning ceremony. The new 34-member cabinet has 13 new faces.

El-Sisi, who led last year’s ouster by the army of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, reappointed Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab upon his inauguration last week and tasked him with forming a new cabinet

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the newly-installed president has urged tighter security measures to restore stability in a country embroiled in years of political and social chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

“El-Sisi directed the necessity of stepping up security efforts to combat all forms of crimes, uphold discipline in the streets and enforce the law on all citizens, with no exceptions,” Ibrahim told state news agency MENA after being sworn-in.

Ibrahim said security forces have launched a nationwide campaign to root out “criminal hotbeds,” saying that recent operations have led to several roundups of “dangerous” criminals.

Police will also raid hotbeds in Upper Egypt to arrest those who possess unauthorised firearms, the minister added.

Ibrahim held his post at the interior ministry, the body responsible for the police, under Morsi and his successor, interim president Adly Mansour.

The minister – who has sponsored a massive security crackdown on Morsi’s Islamist supporters since last summer – said that traffic, one of Cairo’s enduring dilemmas, will be his priority for the time being. Traffic accidents claimed over 6,500 lives in Egypt last year, according to the government’s census authority.

The efforts will include an expansion in the use of surveillance cameras across major roads and corridors that will be hooked up to operation rooms to monitor traffic congestion, the minister said, adding that 250 cameras will be installed in the streets of Cairo over the coming six months.

Following El-Sisi’s inauguration on 8 June, local police have pressed on with a campaign against street sellers and shops’ “encroachments” on the capital’s streets.

The vendors – who the minister says have received previous warnings to evacuate – will be relocated to alternative markets, in coordination with municipalities, he said.

Source : Ahram online