Of the 153,840 people who arrived in Italy by sea in 2015, almost 9,000 came from Sudan, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in a report on 26 February.
Arrivals from Sudan via Libya to Italy by sea were the fourth-largest group after Eritreans, Nigerians and Somalis. 144 Sudanese arrivals applied for asylum, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in its latest weekly bulletin.
According to some aid workers, the arrivals from Sudan are likely to include a significant number of people from Darfur. Especially young displaced people journey via Libya in a bid to find better lives after years in protracted displacement with few prospects for the future.
Most of the Eritreans and Sudanese who arrive in Italy by sea are adult men, whilst the percentage of women and unaccompanied children from Somalia is well above the average, the UNHCR report said.
According to information collected by UNHCR staff and received from people arriving, Sudan appears to be one of the main transit countries of Eritreans and Somalis who travel to Italy by sea.
According to a 2014 report by the Geneva-based Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime, the eastern route of migration from Africa to Europe sources from Somalia, Eritrea, and Darfur in Sudan.
The route tends to cut north through Sudan and Egypt, and then along the northern coast of Africa, in recent years mostly in Libya, for the sea crossing to Italy.
During his visit to Brussels in February, the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, discussed the country’s cooperation with the EU with regard to the illegal migration to Europe.
For this matter the EU Emergency Trust Fund announced it will prepare a €100 million package for Sudan to support concrete efforts to tackle the migration.