Members of the Sudanese security forces arrested three alleged members of a human trafficking gang, and freed 28 people they were holding hostage in Sudan’s Kassala state on Tuesday. One soldier was injured in the clash preceding the arrest, and transferred to Kassala hospital.
The force commander, Maj. Abdelkarim Abdeldafi said that the traffickers were intercepted in the Midessisa area. The men and girls were being held together by iron chains, and were in poor health.
Abdullah Musa, of the leadership of the Beja Congress accused the government of “turning a blind eye to the increasing activity of human trafficking gangs in East Sudan despite its full knowledge about the places of their presence”.
He said that “the government only resorts to apprehend the gangs after the worsening of the phenomenon.”
He called on the government to control the border and combat human trafficking.
In October last year, the head of the Kassala state police, Maj. Gen. Yahya Hadi Suleiman acknowledged that at least 200 people fell victim to human trafficking in Kassala in 2016.
The police chief added that many trafficking gangs kidnap foreigners crossing Sudan on their way to the north”, and force them to pay ransom for their release.
In September 2014, the then Interior Minister Lt. Col. Ismat Abdelrahman stated that the phenomenon is “becoming worrisome”, in particular in the eastern Sudanese states of Kassala, El Gedaref, and Red Sea, and in Darfur.
Sudanese officials have often been accused of being involved in the trafficking. In December 2013, a report compiled by European researchers, The Human Trafficking Cycle: Sinai and Beyond (see below) stated that “It appears that there is a close collaboration between Eritrean traffickers and Sudanese security, military and police officials. Members of the Rashaida and Hidarib tribes in East Sudan are also involved in the abductions in Sudan and in Eritrea”.
According to the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR), Sudan is one of the main transit countries of Eritreans and Somalis who travel to Italy by sea.