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Rediff.com  » News » Don't leave the country, Egypt army tells Mubarak's aides

Don't leave the country, Egypt army tells Mubarak's aides

February 12, 2011 20:44 IST

A day after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military on Saturday banned top officials from travelling outside the country to ensure that former presidential loyalists don't flee.

The ban comes into force immediately, an official announcement from the new regime said as the army removed barricades and barbed wires from around Tahrir Square. The Egyptian capital limped back to normalcy after 18-days of turmoil. An official statement said that officials could only travel with permission from the state prosecutor or armed forces.

The move to impose restrictions on movements of Mubarak's loyalists came as mystery continued to surround the whereabouts of the deposed president and his family.

While officially it was stated that Mubarak has shifted to his Sharm-al-Sheikh resort on the Red Sea, other reports in the Arab media said he may have moved to Europe or the Gulf. There was no word or mention of the ex-president from the new regime.

The steps to ensure that officials don't flee the country came after night-long celebrations as Egyptians woke to a new dawn on Saturday after 30 years of autocratic rule under Mubarak.

Men, women and children, lauded the world over for their near violence free revolution, swept the streets collecting rubbish as tanks still lurked on the sides of main roads.

The army joined in by using heavy cranes to remove barricades as soldiers cut the barbed wire. As a further sign of order returning, the Supreme Military Command Council, which has taken over the reins after Mubarak fled to his Sharm-al Sheikh resort retreat, announced that night curfew would be now in force only post midnight.

Protesters are divided over maintaining their vigil of the Square. While some want to go back home, others want to stay to ensure that the military abides by its commitment to transfer power to the civilian government through free and fair elections.

They await a word from the new regime headed by Mubarak loyalist, 75-year-old Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the Supreme Council of the Armed forces.

The council is expected to make a statement about plans to form a transitional government. In its third statement so far, the council said that it respects the mood of the people.

"The council will issue further statements that will announce forthcoming steps, measures and arrangements, and it affirms at the same time that it is not a replacement for the legitimacy that is acceptable to the people," a military statement said.

The repercussions of the downfall of Mubarak are creating ripples as reports said that hundreds of policemen were out on the streets in Ismailiya, alleging that senior officers had forced them to shoot at protesters.

The police and Mubarak's secret police are the most detested elements of the ex-regime and have been the target of popular wrath.

"Some of us want to return home. Others want to stay on to guard our victory. We are forming a Facebook group to keep in touch," said a protester.

Another democracy vigilante declared, "We propose to return and meet here each year on January 25, the day we started the protest".

Most of the thousands of people gathered there described Mubarak's announcement about his resignation as the "most momentous day of their life".

The army also lifted all the barricades on the road adjacent to the museum. The soldiers and civilian volunteers also cut metal barriers and barbed wire as cranes took away torched vehicles.

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