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Egypt's Morsi appoints Islamist governors

By AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has appointed members of the Muslim Brotherhood as provincial governors, in an attempt to rid state bodies of former regime members, state media reported on Wednesday.

In the first appointment of new governors since Morsi came to power after a popular uprising overthrew Hosni Mubarak, the president appointed 10 new governors, half of whom are Islamists.

The move could raise fears among some segments of society of an extension of the Islamists' reach since the uprising that saw Islamist movements thrust to the forefront of politics after being banned for decades.

Morsi, who was himself a long-time senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood until his election in June, appointed five members of the group as governors of Cairo, the Nile Delta provinces of Kafr el-Sheikh and Menufiya, and the central provinces of Minya and Assiut.

Osama Kamal, a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, former head of Banha University and deputy of the engineers' syndicate, has become the new Cairo governor, a member of the Brotherhood said.

Morsi named Abdelfatah Harhur, a former military police general, to govern the lawless North Sinai region, where Islamist militants have flourished.

A military general was also appointed in the Red Sea governorate and a former police general to Suez province.

Local press quoted Morsi's spokesman Yassir Ali as saying the governors were chosen based on their competence, without mentioning party affiliations.

Under Mubarak, top security officials were generally appointed to head Egypt's 27 governorates.