EGYPT – A hotel supply chain has been accused of being complicit in the looting of hotels and businesses in Egypt.
An investigative report by Reuters has uncovered evidence of hotel and restaurant owners being targeted by thugs who took advantage of the countrys weak labour market and lax enforcement of labour laws.
The report has been obtained by Reuters and a group of international rights groups who said hotel owners and owners of restaurants in hotels were targeted by groups of men dressed in military fatigues and carrying AK-47s.
The raids were carried out in the central city of Ismailiya and in other towns and cities across the country.
The crackdown, which took place on May 2, came after a crackdown in June which targeted more than 1,400 hotels and restaurants.
Police and security forces raided around 70 properties in Ismailiyah, including restaurants and hotels, in an effort to find those responsible for the looting, the report said.
The investigation by Reuters found evidence of a chain of hotel owners who had been the targets of violence, including a chain based in the capital, Cairo.
They were told they were responsible for lootings in Ismaeliya and other towns, it said.
Some of the owners were allegedly beaten, robbed or raped, the group said.
Rescue workers and hotel staff were also targeted.
The chain was ordered to pay compensation for the damage done to the properties, which included a damaged pool hall, a pool table and damaged furniture, the investigative report said, adding that it would seek damages of at least $5,000 per villager.
In response to the allegations, the chain has denied all wrongdoing.
“Our owners have always been in a position to provide the highest quality hospitality, and have always provided the safest and most secure facilities for our guests and employees,” it said in a statement.
The hotel chain, which operates in 10 countries including the United States, said in its statement that it takes these allegations seriously.
It has also suspended its relationship with hotels that are targeted by such violence, the statement said.
“The company and its employees have been working tirelessly to strengthen the safety and security of our guests, staff and our guests’ families, and continue to be vigilant in protecting them from harm and exploitation,” the statement added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.