Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said Saturday that to date authorities have recovered 216 archaeological items of the more than 1,000 that were stolen from a museum in Minya Governorate during the recent disturbances.

Still missing, according to the minister's note, are 873 antiquities from the Malawi Museum, which was sacked by suspected extremists two weeks ago amid clashes between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and security forces.

Ibrahim said the inhabitants of Minya have responded to the call made by his ministry earlier this month, urging them to return the pieces with the promise that they will not be charged with any crime.

The minister appeared confident people will surrender the antiquities when they understand they will never be able to sell them because they are registered with Interpol.

The head of the museums section of the Ministry of State for Antiquities, Ahmed Sharaf, said that outstanding among the pieces returned Friday was a bronze statuette of the bird god of wisdom, represented as a wading species that lives on the banks of the Nile.

Also turned in were two ceramic vessels and two papyri of the Greco-Roman era with demotic writing in black ink.

Egyptian authorities have strengthened segurity measures at archaeological sites and museums for fear of attacks and pillaging due to the nation's widespread unrest. EFE