Egypt using tribes for pipeline protection

Aug. 2, 2011 at 7:24 AM
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CAIRO, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Companies overseeing natural gas pipeline networks need to hire local guards to protect infrastructure in the Sinai Peninsula, an official said.

Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, a regional governor, said the Egyptian Natural Gas Co. contracted regional tribal groups to protect pipelines in their territories, state-run MENA news agency reports.

Attackers punched a hole in the Egyptian natural gas pipeline to Israel, the fifth such attack this year. The same pipeline was damaged in early July and supplies hadn't returned to normal levels.

The McClatchy news service reported after the July explosion that guards aren't armed and don't have up-to-date military equipment such as night-vision goggles.

Bedouin tribes under an agreement with the ruling military council in Egypt are paid a small fee for guarding pipeline facilities.

Israeli officials said the latest attack targeted a pipeline section that disrupted only their supplies, meaning consumers upstream in Jordan weren't affected by the disruption.

Egypt's natural gas reserves are the third largest in Africa.

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