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Saudi authorities arrest 66 illegal migrants coming from Sudan

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September 14, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Saudi Border Guard Forces (BGF) on Wednesday have arrested 66 illegal migrants who were trying to enter Saudi territorial waters, said the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

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Saudi policemen during a traffic control in Riyadh (AFP file photo)

According the SPA, the BGF spokesperson Saher bin Mohammed Al-Harbi said the maritime patrol in Makkah area have foiled two infiltration attempts on
Tuesday and Wednesday by a group of illegal migrants who were seeking to enter the Saudi territorial waters on board a wooden boat coming from Sudanese coast.

He added that the boat was carrying 66 people from different nationalities including 20 Sudanese, 10 Nigerians, 12 Ethiopians, 24 Chadians, saying the infiltrators also included 23 women and 21 children.

Al-Harbi pointed that legal procedures will be taken against the infiltrators according to the border security regulations.

Sudan is considered as an origin as well as transit region for the illegal migrants and human trafficking. Thousands of people from Eritrea and Ethiopia are monthly crossing the border into the Sudanese territories on their way to Europe through Libya or Egypt.

Last June, Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) said it foiled smuggling of 22 people to a neighbouring country through the Sudanese coast on the Red Sea.

The Sudan Media Center, a website closely linked to the country’s intelligence circles, quoted a well-informed security source as saying the illegal migrants confessed that the smuggling operation is carried out by several people belonging to one of Eastern Sudan’s tribes at Al-Shagar area in the sea port of Sawakin, saying they charge each passenger between 2000 to 9000 Sudanese pounds (SDG) (about $150-$640).

In January 2014, the Sudanese parliament approved an anti-human trafficking law which punishes those involved with human trafficking with up to 20 years imprisonment.

Also, in 2014, Khartoum hosted a conference on human trafficking in the Horn of Africa, organised by the African Union (AU), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Sudanese government.

15 countries and European Union representatives attended the meeting, during which a joint strategy and action plan to combat human trafficking was adopted.

(ST)

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