At least two people were killed in the Egyptian capital on Sunday when soldiers clashed with residents they were expelling from a Nile river island the military claims as its land, a security official said.
Two officers and three conscripts were also wounded as soldiers and residents traded fire, according the official.
Residents who exchanged fire with security forces from buildings overlooking the island and later cut a main Cairo road and burned tyres as women wailed on the street, said there were more dead on the island which the soldiers had now taken over, but there was no way of verifying the claim.
Police blocked off the thoroughfare and mustered conscripts who waited in trucks roughly half a kilometre from where the island’s former residents were protesting.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the accident between a speeding train with bus carrying Egyptian children to their kindergarten rose to 51 on Sunday and prompted a wave of anger against a government under mounting pressure to rectify the former regime’s legacy of neglect.
The crash, which killed children between four and six years old and three adults on Saturday, led to local protests and accusations from outraged Egyptians that President Mohammed Morsi is failing to deliver on the demands of last year’s uprising for basic rights, dignity and social justice.
Um Ibrahim, a mother whose three children were on the bus, pulled her hair in grief.
“My children! I didn’t feed you before you left,” she wailed in horror.
As one man picked up pieces of shattered limbs he screamed: “Only God can help!”
Opposition activists have accused Morsi of continuing the mistakes of his predecessor by not overhauling government services. They say he is too focused on foreign policy while moving slowly to tackle a myriad of domestic problems.
A day before the accident in Al Mandara village in Assiut province, the president positioned Egypt as a new Arab champion for the Palestinians. But with more children killed in the accident than by Israeli bombs in the Gaza Strip since an escalation in fighting this week, he is already being called on to refocus efforts at home.