Police Arrest 3 Smugglers for Stealing Mummies

Police arrested three antiquities smugglers and confiscated the four mummies they had stolen Wednesday south of Cairo, a security official said.

Wrapped in layers of linen and decorated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the mummies were found in the southern province of Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, the official said speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

The three smugglers confessed that they carried the mummies in a truck to Fayyoum earlier on the day to sell them to other antiquities brokers, the official said.

The mummies belong to a child and three men, but no further details were available of their identities or age, the official said and added that a delegation of archeologists were summoned to check the mummies.

Along with the mummies, police also confiscated 10 small statues.

Egypt has drastically stepped up efforts in recent years to stop trafficking of its antiquities. It has warned foreign museums that it will not help them mount exhibitions on ancient Egypt unless they return smuggled artifacts.