A leaked video appears to show a child being executed at close range in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by an army officer.
In the 30 second video the young boy is lying on a hill partially covered in white material. Moments before his death he asks for his mother.
“Don’t worry,” replies the army officer. “We’ll call your father to pick you up. We’ll cover you,” he adds, before shooting him in the head.
The incident took place in 2015 though the video was leaked today after being sent to Egyptian activist Haitham Ghoneim by a soldier who was serving in Sinai.
Ghoneim drew attention to a statement posted on Twitter in March this year which shows a picture of what looks like the same young boy with bomb-making equipment placed next to his body. The army spokesman vows to destroy terrorist dens and hotbeds and declares success in eliminating a terrorist cell and arresting 345 individuals.
— المتحدث العسكري (@EgyArmySpox) March 19, 2018
Although the video cannot be independently verified, if it is true this young boy is another victim of the heavy-handed war on terror Egyptian security forces are waging in Sinai which purports to be against the local Daesh affiliate, Sinai Province. Under this counterterror operation authorities have forcibly disappeared hundreds of civilians. Several have been extrajudicially executed and then presented to the public as terrorists.
Egyptian authorities released a video last year which alleges to show an anti-terror raid that killed ten Daesh fighters yet experts who analysed the footage said there were indications that it was fake, for example the positions of the bodies suggest they had been moved. At least some of the men in the footage were arrested some months before its release.
In April last year Mekameleen TV station based in Istanbul broadcast a video of an Egyptian military officer executing young men then placing their rifles next to the bodies for photographs to film them and then removing the guns. Two of the victims were identified as 16-year-old Daoud Sabri Al-Awabdah and his brother, 19-year-old Abd Al-Hadi Sabri, who were forcibly disappeared on 18 July 2016.
A violent crackdown in Sinai has been ongoing since 2013 but intensified earlier this year when the government launched Sinai 2018 ahead of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s deadline to “restore stability and security” in the region.
Roads have closed isolating cities from each other and the North Sinai governorate from Egypt’s mainland. There is not enough food, schools and universities have shut and homes are being evacuated and demolished including around Al-Arish airport to create a security buffer zone.
Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings are rife yet the details of what takes place in the region are murky. Journalists and human rights organisations are not allowed into Sinai without permission from the government, which is rarely granted.