The Sudanese authorities yesterday foiled an attempt to smuggle 70 people in to Libya and arrested five human traffickers, the Anadolu Agency reported, quoting the Commissioner of Refugees.
Hamad El-Gizouli said in a press conference held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum that people included 31 Eritreans and 39 Sudanese were among those detained. He added that they were illegally smuggling to Libya in an effort to travel to Europe.
“Some of the illegal immigrants were holding temporary Sudanese residency, some were fugitives from eastern Sudanese refugee camps and others were people who had fled Ethiopia,” Al-Gazouli added.
The Commission for Refugees’ Affairs is currently questioning the migrants before taking any necessary legal action, he said.
The Sudanese official pointed out that the human trafficking gang that managed the operation consisted of five people, adding that they will face trial in Sudan’s southern city of Al-Fashir.
On her part, the representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Noriko Yoshida, said: “Sudan is one of the largest countries hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, primarily from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen.”
“As the country continues to keep its doors open to people fleeing war, hunger and hardship in their countries, international solidarity and resources are more vital than ever,” she continued.
This year’s budget, the UN official noted, amounts to $260 million. “Four months into 2018, UNHCR’s appeal to meet the needs of refugees in Sudan is only 14 per cent funded,” she pointed out.
Sudan is a transit country for illegal immigrants who are smuggled to Europe via Libya and to a lesser extent into Israel via the Egyptian Sinai desert.
The Sudanese government says it does not have data on the numbers of illegal migrants or gangs that are active in smuggling due to a lack of capabilities