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Two refugees killed in attack on human traffickers: eastern Sudan police

October 13 - 2017 KASSALA
Eritrean asylum seekers meet at the Wad Sharify refugee camp in eastern Sudan, near the border with Eritrea (Mohamed Nureldin)
Eritrean asylum seekers meet at the Wad Sharify refugee camp in eastern Sudan, near the border with Eritrea (Mohamed Nureldin)

Two Eritrean refugees were killed in Kassala in eastern Sudan, in a gunfight between human traffickers and a joint state security force on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in southern El Sawaqi area. The head of police in Kassala, Maj. Gen. Yahya El Hadi Suleiman, informed the press at a news conference that the security force released 20 of the hostages who were being held by an armed gang of human traffickers at El Sawaqi “for weeks”.

One of the gang members sustained injuries during the exchange of gunfire while others escaped in a vehicle. The wounded man has been transferred to the hospital in Kassala under tight guard, the police chief reported.

Attorney-General Omar Ahmed Mohamed instructed the prosecution in Kassala to quickly address and scrutinise investigations and interrogations into cases of human trafficking on Thursday. He announced that authorities need to work “to combat this crime as one of the problems that threatens communities”.

Laws

The head of the the United Popular Front for Liberation and Justice has accused the Sudanese government of being involved in human trafficking crimes, because of “the abduction of victims on Sudanese territory, where they are lured from refugee camps that are under the supervision of the government”.

In a press statement released yesterday, the popular front said that the Sudanese parliament has refrained from authorising deterrent laws that combat the crime of smuggling and human trafficking.

“Instead the government is returning the abductees to their country, which contravenes the international laws of refugees.”

The authorities in Kassala deported 36 Eritreans who were convicted of illegal entry into Sudan to their country of origin after spending two months in prison, on 17 September. In August, 104 Eritrean refugees were forced to return from Sudan. Those deported to Eritrea were among 66 people, including 30 minors, who were arrested by a Sudanese military force during a raid on a site for smugglers in Wad El Hihlio locality.

Following the deportations the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said that “the forcible return of refugees to their country of origin is a serious violation of international refugee law”.

Blacklisted

The US State Department has again included the name of the Sudan in its ‘Tier 3’, the list of countries the US accuses of being reluctant to combat human trafficking within its borders, on 30 September.


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