August 23, 2013 - As Egypt plunges deeper into the political turmoil, looters take advantage of the situation – and the latest robbery of the Malawi Museum in the city of Minya, 300km from Cairo, has been the biggest of its kind in the Egyptians’ living memory.
Looters got away with more than 1,000 objects, including a prized 3,500-year-old limestone statue, ancient beaded jewelry, gold and bronze Greco-Roman coins, pottery and bronze-detailed sculptures of animals sacred to Thoth, one of the ancient Egyptian deities represented with the head of an ibis.
The building was initially vandalized last Wednesday, with looting and burning going on for almost a week now. Local teenagers burned and destroyed mummies and other objects of art which were too heavy for robbers to carry.
The museum’s ticket agent was killed as the theft took place, AP reported.
There were no police or troops nearby to prevent thieves from helping themselves.
Archaeologist Monica Hanna, as well as a security official, threatened by sniper fire, managed to save about 40 artifacts, including five ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, two mummies and several dozen other items left behind in the street by the thieves.