Screenshot of a video circulated on social media of a blaze caused by an oil pipeline vandalism in Beheira governorate. November 13, 2019
CAIRO - 21 December 2019: Public Prosecutor Hamada al-Sawy referred 10 defendants to Criminal Court charging them with vandalizing a petroleum pipeline in Beheira’s Etay Al Baroud and causing the death of nine and the injury of 11 in November.
The injuries varied between burns and suffocation. The burns affected a maximum of 50 percent of the injured bodies and varied in their degrees. DNA tests were carried out to determine the identities of the victims.
Investigations indicated that the defendants planned to steal petroleum products from the pipeline crossing a private property. For that purpose, they rented the land in October and dug to reach the pipeline connecting it to smaller pipes and a stopcock they installed.
In the morning of November 13, one of the defendants attempted to install another stopcock accidentally puncturing a pipe. That resulted in a leak they failed to control so they escaped. The petrol got mixed with a wastewater channel and a blaze occured.
At noon, the owner of the land called the police, that informed the petroleum company. The authorities confiscated the pipes the defendants installed and the tools used in digging, while the company controlled the leak.
A number of village dwellers gathered to watch and shoot videos. However, some of them were trying to steal the leaked petrol. The identities of thieves could not be identified from the videos and photos circulated on social media.
In the interrogations, the defendants admitted their crimes and it turned out that two of them were charged with similar violations. Also, two of the injured admitted they had stolen leaked petrol.