As Egypt votes, some still caught in political crossfire

Mon May 26, 2014 7:58am EDT
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By Shadia Nasralla

SUEZ Egypt (Reuters) - Samir El-Gamal, a 10-year-old Egyptian boy, died in his mother's arms last year, struck in the back of the head by a stray bullet while they were walking near clashes between supporters and opponents of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

As Egypt votes this week on a successor to Mursi, Samir's loved ones now want authorities to declare the boy a "martyr", a term used to portray as heroes members of the security forces killed in fighting with Islamists.

They do not want Samir to have died in vain, just another bystander killed in the political struggle which erupted after then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed the Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi from power last July.

“The most important thing we ask from the state, or from Sisi personally, is that Samir is like any soldier, like any officer or policeman,” said his father Ahmed, who works for the Suez Governorate.

“They have to honor him like they honored the others.”

If Sisi wins the presidential election as expected, he will be the latest military man to rule the biggest Arab nation.

He is seen as a strong figure who can end the political and economic instability that has dogged Egypt since a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Under Sisi's watch, security forces have killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and arrested thousands, driving the group underground and raising political tensions.   Continued...

Ahmed El-Gamal, the father of Samir, a 10-year-old Egyptian boy who died during clashes between supporters and opponents of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, walks in front his house with graffiti in Suez May 25, 2014.    REUTERS/Stringer