Target: Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab
Goal: Publicly apologize for accidentally killing tourists, and implement more cautious border protection procedures.
Egyptian security forces killed twelve tourists and injured ten more in the Western Desert because they had mistaken them for terrorist militants. Military and police were chasing terrorist “elements” when they came upon the tourists and opened fire. Authorities claimed that the tourists were within a restricted area, and it has not been publicly shared whether or not they previously sought out permission or authorization for their visit there. However, tourist and militant watch areas are difficult to separate as they are very close in proximity and even overlap.
Last year a military guard post in the tourist oasis town Farafra and prompted the military campaign against insurgents operating near Libya, an area that became more attractive to rebel operations after the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadafi in 2011. The porous border has since allowed the transport and exchange of drugs, weapons, and illegal immigrants, and Islamic militants increased their attacks in the Western Desert after Egypt’s depose of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood.
While it is important to guard the area and protect Egyptian citizens and visitors from terrorism, there is obviously a lack of care and training within authoritative departments that would allow the mass murder and maiming of innocent foreign tourists. Tell Egypt that it needs to issue an apology to the families of the victims and reform their border patrol procedures to be more cautious and aware of the innocent people in the area.
Dear Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab,
A tragic incident occurred in the Western Desert recently when a group of military and police officers gunned down a group of tourists accidentally while in pursuit for terrorist elements in the area. Twelve people were killed and ten others were injured, and the group had not displayed any hostile or suspicious behavior. Your Libyan border outside of the Western Desert has become a hotbed for illegal and terrorist activity since the fall of Moammar Gadafi, and it is clear that the effort to end it is vital and urgent. But there needs to be a greater level of care implemented by your border control.
Since two of the dead and five of the injured were Mexican citizens, Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto issued a statement that demanded Egypt’s thorough investigation of the incident. In addition to that, I request that you issue a statement of apology to the families of these victims and implement a stricter procedure for the pursuit of terrorist and criminal suspects in Western Desert. Changing your authorities’ response and treatment of civilians and suspects is the only way this incident can be prevented from happening again and more people can be saved from simple misunderstanding.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Matthew Carrington