CAIRO (AP) – A global human rights watchdog has urged Egyptian judicial authorities to investigate what appeared to be extra-judicial killings of militants by the military in the country’s restive northern Sinai Peninsula.
Amnesty International released a statement on Thursday commenting on a video released earlier this week by Egypt’s armed forces, where troops appeared to be hunting down and killing alleged militants in Sinai’s desert.
“The Egyptian public prosecution must immediately launch effective, impartial and independent investigations into these apparent extrajudicial executions, with the view to bringing those responsible to justice in fair trials before civilian courts,” said the London-based group’s statement.
Egypt has been battling militants in northern Sinai for years. Violence and instability there intensified after the 2013 military ouster of Mohammed Morsi, an elected but divisive president, amid nationwide protests against his brief rule.
The militants have carried out numerous attacks, mainly targeting Egyptian security forces, minority Christians and those who they accuse of collaborating with the military and police. The fight against militants in Sinai has largely taken place hidden from the public eye, with journalists, non-residents and outside observers barred from the area. The conflict has also been kept at a distance from tourist resorts at the southern end of the peninsula.
An Egyptian government press officer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Sunday, the spokesman of Egypt’s armed forces, Lt. Col. Gharib Abdel Hafez Gharib, posted a video on his official Facebook page showing troops firing at alleged militants living in tents in the Sinai desert. The video also included aerial shots in which the air force appears to be targeting men and vehicles, and still images of lifeless bodies of suspected militants, their faced blurred out.