Cairo: Condolences have poured in for a senior Egyptian policeman, who died in London this week, more than five years after he was seriously injured in an attack by loyalists of deposed Islamist president Mohammad Mursi.
Col. Sa’tae Al Nouamani lost his sight and had his face disfigured when he suffered gunfire injuries on July 2, 2013 during a police clash with Mursi’s followers, who were staging a sit-in protest at a major square in Giza near Cairo in his support. Some 27 policemen and civilians were killed in the fight, which also injured 28 others including Al Noaumani, who was serving as a deputy chief of a local police station at the time.
Mursi was removed by the army the following day after enormous street protests against his one-year rule. Al Nouamani’s injuries were so critical that he went into a coma for 60 days.
Al Nouamani died aged 48 at a London hospital on Wednesday after suffering an unspecified health problem, according to his family.
He was in London to undergo face surgery, the last in a series of medical procedures he had over the past five years in Switzerland and Britain.
His death has triggered an outpouring of grief in Egypt. President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi ordered renaming the Al Nahda Square, where the officer was injured in 2013, after Al Nouamani, state media reported Thursday.
The Foreign Ministry praised the late officer, saying he will remain a “symbol of sacrifice and steadfastness” for the nation and Egyptians.
Hosts of night-time talk shows at Egyptian TV stations mourned him, calling him a “martyr of the nation”.
“He was a fighter in the full sense of the word even when he fell in coma,” Al Nouamani’s brother, Sameh who is a medical doctor, said.
“Sa’tae’s injuries were fatal. He was attacked by an internationally banned weapon,” Sameh told a local TV station, without elaborating.
Users of social media also paid tribute to Al Nouamani.
“You’ll remain Sa’tae for us,” tweeted a person named Jamal Al Arabi, playing on the late officer’s name, which is Arabic for light.
“Rest in God’s mercy, you martyr,” wrote another called Habeeb Misr (A lover of Egypt). Other mourners described him as an “icon of the Egyptian police”.
In 2015, Al Sissi officially feted Al Nouamani at a televised police ceremony, kissing his head in a gesture of esteem. Giza authorities named a school in the pyramid-famous city after Al Nouamani.
During the interval in his long medical trip, Al Nouamani frequently attended political and social events in the homeland where he appeared in high spirits. He also campaigned in support for families of security forces killed or injured in a spate of post-Mursi militant attacks.
He, moreover, campaigned for the welfare of the physically and mentally challenged, frequently saying: “I’m handicapped and proud of this”.
The government said that arrangements are underway for the body of Al Nouamani to be flown home for burial.