Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi promoted military commanders on Thursday in show of support for the army amid rumours of tensions between the Islamist leader and the once ruling generals.
The promotions come after the Egyptian press and Britian’s Guardian newspaper reported that a fact finding committee Morsi had appointed found evidence of military abuses during the 2011 revolt that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi’s spokesman said in statement he promoted three major generals to lieutenant generals in a meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which was in charge after Mubarak’s ouster and before Morsi’s election last June.
Morsi had called for the meeting “in order to calm the situation and remove tensions affecting the military as a result of a defamation campaign and attacks by some politicians”, the official MENA news agency reported.
Morsi took office with his powers circumscribed by the military, then led by Mubarak’s former defence minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
The Islamist — modern Egypt’s first civilian leader — sacked Tantawi after a militant attack in August killed 16 soldiers at a border outpost, seizing on discontent within the military to purge commanders whose loyalties were in doubt, one of his aides said at the time.
Renewed tensions between Morsi and the military, now led by Colonel General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, were reported in Egyptian press after the military called for dialogue between Morsi and his opposition after mass protests in December.
The presidency had denied the reports.