ASWAN, Egypt – Clashes between an Arab clan and a Nubian family restarted Sunday in Egypt's south, leaving one person killed and four injured, state TV said, despite high-profile government mediation to end the protracted feud that has now claimed 24 lives.
A Nubian resident reached by telephone said gunmen from the Arab Haleyla clan were attacking his neighborhood el-Sayel el-Rifi, on the edge of Aswan city.
"We are dying. They are attacking us," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "There is no government and no police in the area."
The renewed clashes came shortly after the local governor visited the area. An Associated Press photographer on the scene said firefights broke out nearby, including outside a local hospital and morgue. One armored vehicle was seen outside the neighborhood of narrow dirt roads. Schools in the neighborhood and surrounding areas were shut over fears of renewed violence.
The clashes began after a fight between school students drew in adults, sparking a bloody feud that turned deadly Friday. Police said the fight was over the harassment of a girl. Witnesses said offensive graffiti written on the school walls fueled the fight.
Security officials say members of the Arab clan are involved in arms and drugs smuggling and are well-armed. The fight took on a political overtone when the impoverished Arab clan accused the ethnic Nubians of supporting the military, while the Nubians say the Arabs back the ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Local leaders say police were mostly absent from the area of tension, causing the violence to spread. The governor appealed for the military to deploy troops in the area.
Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and his Interior Minister visited Aswan Saturday to meet local notables to end the dispute. Mahlab promised a fact-finding mission to investigate how the violence erupted. But vendettas, particularly over perceived violations of honor, are common in southern Egypt.
On Sunday, local government official Mohammed Mostafa told private TV station CBC that officials are considering emergency measures and possibly a curfew in the area.