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UAE says it led arrest of most wanted people smuggler

January 6, 2023 at 7:33 pm

Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam [Twitter]

The United Arab Emirates detailed its role in an international operation to arrest an Eritrean fugitive in Sudan accused of being “the world’s most wanted” people smuggler, AFP reports.

According to the report, Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam has been accused of being a smuggling kingpin, running a camp in Libya where hundreds of East African migrants seeking passage to Europe were allegedly kidnapped, raped and extorted.

Habtemariam, subject of two Interpol red notices by Ethiopia and the Netherlands, was arrested on 1 January by Sudanese police in coordination with UAE authorities, UAE Interior Ministry official, Saeed Abdullah Al-Suwaidi told reporters.

The Eritrean, on Interpol’s radar since 2019, earned a reputation for “particularly cruel and violent treatment of migrants”, Interpol said.

The UAE authorities said they are discussing with Interpol the possibility of launching another investigation into a major human trafficker.

The Eritrean will now face trial in the UAE for money laundering, and authorities will review the possibility of his extradition after the case is closed in the UAE, the report said.

READ: Interpol arrests people smuggling kingpin in Sudan