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'Sudan fails to stop and punish smugglers': Kassala MP

September 11 - 2015 KASSALA
Police officers stand guard in Khartoum on April 10, 2010 ( file photo)
Police officers stand guard in Khartoum on April 10, 2010 ( file photo)

A MP in Kassala state in eastern Sudan has accused the Sudanese government of failing to stop organised networks, which have a close relation to human traffickers, smuggle goods to neighbouring countries.

Mohamed El Taher Ousham, Member of Parliament for Hameshkoreib constituency in Kassala, near the Eritrean border, criticised authorities which fail to enforce the law and punishments on these traffickers in a press statement on Thursday.

He pointed to the importance of activating the human trafficking act that stipulates the sentence to death or imprisonment for a minimum of 20 years.

Ousham reported in October last year that human trafficking was on the increase in eastern Sudan's three states. He accused certain government officers of “being more than lenient in dealing with vehicles used for smuggling operations”. In the past, Human Rights Watch accused Sudanese and Egyptian security officials of involvement in human trafficking. The police of El Gedaref arrested two army officers on charges of human trafficking in April.

Abdelgader Mohamed Saleh, lawyer and activist from eastern Sudan, said that Kassala and El Gedaref states also suffer from the smugglers' activities. “This crime has not been sufficiently attended and deterred adequately […] the problems will threaten social peace in eastern Sudan.”

Mohamed Saleh told Radio Dabanga that the phenomenon has appeared since the current government came to power. He attributed the occurrence of smuggling in the states to the imposition of taxes and restrictions on export and import movement. The activist called on the government to legalise border trade, and to not over-estimate security aspects in its relations with neighbouring countries.

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