Eighty-four Eritrean migrants rescued from kidnappers in Sudan

On 18 November 2018, Sudanese government forces rescued a group of 84 Eritrean migrants who were kidnapped by human traffickers in the state of Kassala. SUNA, a local news outlet, reported that the victims were freed after heavy clashes between government forces and the kidnappers.

The rescue operation was conducted after authorities received information from locals that dozens of migrants were being held hostage by traffickers along the Karay Dirair forest in the Rifi Arab locality.

Alam al-Din Hashim, head of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Kassala, said the victims, including 51 women, were found in a poor physical condition due to abuse suffered at the hands of their captors. He revealed that the traffickers “captured the victims and demanded their families to pay ransoms,” adding that the victims were held captive “for periods ranging from 10 days to 2 months.”

The rescue mission resulted in the arrest of 10 kidnappers, and charges will be filed against them at the State Security Prosecution Office under articles of the Human Trafficking Law.

Many believe that the reopening of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea in September is creating a freeway for thousands of Eritreans to flee their home country to Ethiopia and then to Sudan, in the hope of reaching Europe through Libya or Egypt. Human trafficking networks in the north-eastern states of Sudan are taking advantage of this flow of Eritrean migrants.

Considered a country of origin and transit for irregular migration and human trafficking, Sudan has been taking steps to improve the situation. In 2014, the country enacted an anti-human trafficking law with measures that include stricter punishments for traffickers, ranging from death to imprisonment from 5 to 20 years. Khartoum is also aiming to set up border security arrangements with neighbouring countries like Ethiopia, Libya, Chad and Niger.

TMP – 30/11/2018

Photo: StreetVJ/Shutterstock. Bus terminal in Kassala, Sudan.