Forty Ahly football club fans have been detained as of Saturday as part of an arrest campaign cracking down on the club’s hardcore fanbase, known as Ultras Ahlawy, following clashes that broke out during a match between Egypt’s Ahly SC and Gabon’s CF Mounana on Tuesday in Cairo, according to lawyer Mohamed Hafez.
The whereabouts of the detained fans, who were arrested from their homes and workplaces, remains unknown. None of the detainees have been referred to prosecution so far, Hafez added.
During the Tuesday match, several fans allegedly moved into the upper deck of Cairo Stadium, above the press seats, an area that is closed off to fans, prompting security forces to attempt to arrest several of them, reported the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper. This led to a standoff with security forces inside the stadium, in which fans lit firecrackers, chanted against the police and broke stadium chairs. Altercations escalated following the match, with fans reportedly setting two police vehicles on fire.
The following day, State Security Prosecution began investigations into the incident after concluding that what happened after the match “has nothing to do with supporting Ahly SC, but rather harms the safety and security of the country,” reported the privately owned Youm7 newspaper. On the same day, seven “leading figures” of the fanbase — which is known for its tense relationship with the police since the 2011 revolution — were arrested, Hafez told Mada Masr on Friday.
In a statement published on Wednesday on the ultras’ official Facebook page, the group said that the seven people detained were “only arrested because they are well-known” and that the group has not been able to determine where they are being held.
“If some irresponsible people participated in this unintentional transgression, we apologize. This situation has nothing to do with Ahly fans,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Khateeb, head of Ahly SC, asserted that he is reviewing the ticket sales database for the match to determine the the buyers’ identities. The club’s administration has given this information to authorities to assist them in determining “riot figures,” read the club’s statement.