National: (By Yasir Habib Khan)– South Africa and Pakistan have joined the international community to blast Egyptian military government for triggering unprovoked violence to disperse the pro-democracy demonstrators.
At least 327 people were killed and 2 926 others injured across Egypt in clashes between supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the security troops, after the latter dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins, that country’s Health Ministry says.
The announced death toll has risen by nearly 100 after Wednesday evening’s figure given by the ministry showed at least 235 people were killed and over 2 000 injured in the nationwide clashes.
The Health Ministry has also said 43 policemen were killed. But it remains difficult to dig out the real number of deaths and injuries due to conflicting sources as well as some incessant clashes across the country.
The Egyptian security forces started on Wednesday the evacuation operation at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo’s Nasr City and Nahda Square in Giza. The pro-Morsi protesters had been sitting in there for some 45 days.
After the deadly clashes, the Egyptian interim presidency announced on Wednesday a state of emergency nationwide for one month, while the cabinet imposed a curfew on turmoil governorates including Cairo, Giza and Alexandria.
Pretoria urged all parties in Egypt to exercise restraint and resolve their differences through dialogue, adding that the loss of life takes away the democratic aspirations as expressed by the millions of Egyptian voters last year.
“The South African Government calls on the interim authority to end the bloody actions against its own people; to conduct a credible and transparent judicial investigation against those who committed the massacres since 30 June 2013; to unconditionally release all political detainees; and to launch a genuine and comprehensive transition process so as to allow for the return to constitutional normalcy and democratic legitimacy.
“It is also incumbent on those forces responsible for law and order to protect civilians and prevent further bloodshed in Egypt,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said on Thursday.
Pretoria also reiterated the importance of national reconciliation that will bring about peace and stability in Egypt, Dirco said, reiterating that South Africa remains ready to assist Egypt by sharing experiences and lessons in this regards.
“An Egyptian-led, all-inclusive negotiated process remains the only option for Egypt to get out of the present impasse,” the department said.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane discussed the volatile situation in Egypt with her counterparts in the region on the sidelines of the current Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit underway in Malawi.
They agreed that peace and stability in Egypt is crucial to the North African region and the African continent as a whole.
Vast demonstrations erupted in Cairo after Egypt’s first democratically elected President Morsi was deposed and has been detained by the Egyptian army in an undisclosed location since early July
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