Al Jazeera reported today:
[Al Jazeera reporter] Ayman Mohyeldin reports that eyewitnesses have said “party thugs” associated with the Egyptian regime’s Central Security Services – in plainclothes but bearing government-issued weapons – have been looting in Cairo. Ayman says the reports started off as isolated accounts but are now growing in number.
The Telegraph reports:
“Thugs” going around on motorcycles looting shops and houses, according to Al Jazeera. They say they are getting more and more reports of looting. More worryingly, one group of looters who were captured by citizens in the upmarket Cairo district of Heliopolis turned out to have ID cards identifying them as members of the regime security forces.
A prominent former Egyptian MP and presidential candidate says that he’s seen the proof:
The former presidential candidate Ayman Nour, who is the leader of the Tomorrow Party, said he had seen unequivocal proof that many looters were thugs backed by the regime.
”We have been able to identify these men as members of the Interior Ministry. We have seen their ID cards,” he said.
”They are working to make chaos, to make people afraid of the protesters.”
Similarly, Egyptian newspaper Al MasryAlyoum provides several eyewitness accounts of agents provocateur:
Thugs looting residential neighborhoods and intimidating civilians are government-hires, say eyewitnesses.
In Nasr City, an Eastern Cairo neighborhood, residents attempting to restore security told Al-Masry Al-Youm that looters were caught yesterday.
“They were sent by the government. The government got them out of prison and told them to rob us,” says Nameer Nashaat, a resident working alongside other youths to preserve order in the district. “When we caught them, they said that the Ministry of Interior has sent them.”
In Masr al-Qadeema, another district, scrap metal dealer Khaled Barouma, confirmed the same account. “The government let loose convicts. They let them out of prisons. We all know them in this neighborhood,” he said, adding that the neighborhood’s youth is trying to put the place in order by patrolling its streets with batons.
“The government wants people to believe that this is an uprising of convicts, which is not the case. The government is the one that is a criminal,” Khalil Fathy, a local journalist covering the events closely, said.
In Rehab City, a wealthy gated community in New Cairo, masked thugs broke through a civilian barricade in a truck and were caught by a neighborhood watch that has been guarding the city this evening.
“Even though we caught the ones we saw, now that they’re in, we know that more will be coming and we’re all running to protect our families and houses,” said Karim el-Dib, one of the men guarding the community.
Meanwhile, protestors caught two police informants attempting to rob a bank in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
Ayman Nour, opposition leader and head of the Ghad Party, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that his fellow party members have caught several thugs who work forthe Interior Ministry. After capturing them in downtown Cairo and Heliopolis, Nour’s followers found ministry of interior IDs on them, Nour said.
“The regime is trying to project the worst image possible to make it clear to people that they have only one of two alternatives: either the existing order or chaos,” he said.
Scores of looting incidents have been reported since yesterday. Many residential neighborhoods have been attacked by thugs and ex-convicts, despite military presence.
Eyewitnesses reported that one plain clothed man attempted to loot and destroy private property, and when confronted he was shot. Bystanders then took his identification out and revealed that he was a police officer, leaving a number of demonstrators to argue that the government has told police to instigate looting and unrest.
And American intelligence service Stratfor provides the following unconfirmed report today:
Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace.