Security forces deployed on Warraq Island to remove buildings illegally built on state-owned lands on July 16, 2017 - Photo by Ahmed Maarouf
CAIRO – 4 August 2017: The Giza Security Directorate is establishing a police station on Warraq Island, where clashes broke out between security forces and inhabitants to evacuate “squatters” in mid-July, a security source said to Egypt Today on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to brief the media on Friday.
The island had a small building with a single policeman to follow up on security; however, the Security Directorate is now turning it into an integral police station with full service for the inhabitants. The development will start within a few days, the source added.
On July 16, clashes broke out between security forces and residents of the Warraq district in Giza during attempts to remove Nile encroachments. The clashes resulted in injuries on both sides and the death of one citizen. Ten people were also arrested.
The attempt came as part of a campaign initiated by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in May to retrieve state property and demolish encroachments nationwide.
In January 2015, the Ministry of Irrigation launched a national campaign titled “Save the Nile”, aiming to remove all encroachments placed on the Nile River. Since the launch of the campaign, a total of 26,651 encroachments in violation were seized.
Trying to settle the disputes that erupted on Warraq Island, Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdul Aal met with the parliament members of the Warraq constituency three days after the incident to discuss the latest updates of Giza's Warraq Island clashes.
On July 27, President Sisi discussed during the first day of the fourth National Youth Conference in Alexandria about the land encroachments, especially Warraq Island, stating, “The state would not allow the displacement of citizens, but it is also unacceptable to violate the state’s authority.”
The president began his statements by saying that the amount of LE100 billion ($5.6 billion) is needed to return Warraq Island to as it was 70-80 years ago, adding that these improvements will include cleaning, repairing its sewage system and removing encroachments.
Sisi clarified that the island is about 1,400 acres, which is a larger area than Zamalek Island, but was built randomly. He added that if used all for residency, the island’s sewage will impact the Nile, causing kidney diseases and pollution.
He further explained that the encroachments in Warraq and other areas are due to the absence of state authority and law enforcement.
Regarding speculation that the state will hand Warraq Island to an Emirati investor, Sisi commented that the problem is not about the funding, but about the management.