Museum Security Network

Egypt sees massive looting of antiquities

Egypt sees massive looting of antiquities – Bikya Masr.

Across Egypt reports are beginning to come in that reveal widespread looting of museums and antiquities, not just in the capital Cairo, sources on the ground told Bikya Masr in a statement.

According to antiquities official Mohamed Megahed, “immense damages to Abusir and Saqqara” were reported. Looters allegedly have gone into tombs that had been sealed and destroyed much of the tombs and took artifacts.

“Only the Imhotep Museum and adjacent central areas were protected by the military. In Abusir, all tombs were opened; large gangs digging day and night,” he said.

According to Megahed, storage facilities in South Saqqara, just south of Cairo has also been looted. He did mention it was hard to ascertain what, and how much, was taken.

He said Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) officials “are only today [Sunday] able to check on the museums storage, but early reports suggest major looting.”

He called on the international archaeology community to issue a “high alert” statement on Old Kingdom remains and Egyptian antiquities in general, “and please spread the word to law enforcement officials worldwide.”

Looters of museums, “who may be encouraged by outside Egypt entities, may try to use general confusion to get things out of the country.”

His statement comes as Al Jazeera and other news networks reported extensively on the small looting at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo in the past two days as police guarding the museum left their posts. Others allege that the police themselves are responsible for the looting.

The Egyptian Museum is home to some 120,000 items and thousands more in storage in the basement.

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