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Sudan’s SRF militia arrests 1500 illegal migrants near Libyan border

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January 8, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Sunday said it has intercepted the smuggling of 1500 illegal migrants on the Sudanese-Libyan border during the last seven months.

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SRF field commander Mohamed Hamdan (Hametti) speaks in a press conference in Khartoum on Wednesday May 14, 2014 (ST)

Sudan is considered as a country of origin and transit for the illegal migration 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.

In June 2016, hundreds of RSF elements have been deployed in the remote desert of the Northern State shortly after complaint by the governor of drug and human trafficking by the criminal networks.

On Sunday, 115 illegal immigrants captured by the SRF at Sudan’s northern border have arrived in Khartoum.

Speaking at a press conference in Khartoum Sunday, SRF Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, (aka Hametti), said the victims would be handed over to the Ministry of Interior.

He pointed that Sudan is amongst countries who fight ruthlessly against human trafficking, illegal migration, arms smuggling and terrorism, saying the SRF troops were deployed along the borders with all neighboring countries.

Dagolo added that the SRF is making large efforts to combat human trafficking and illegal migration especially as the operations are being conducted in rough terrain within the desert, saying several of his men were killed and injured during these operations.

He demanded the international community to lift the sanctions imposed on Sudan in order to allow it to combat human trafficking, pointing to the adverse impact of sanctions on all segments of the Sudanese society.

Sudan has been under US economic sanctions since 1997 and remains on the US list of state sponsors of terror.

Washington admitted Sudan’s cooperation in the anti-terror war but now points that it wouldn’t remove Sudan from the list of states sponsor of terrorism or left economic sanctions before the end of armed conflicts in Darfur region and Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Last year, the European Union granted a €100m development package to address the root causes of irregular migration in Sudan. The financial support came after pledge by the Sudanese government to cooperate with Brussels to stop human trafficking to Europe.

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.

The RSF, which is widely known as the Janjaweed militias, were originally mobilized by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.

The militia was reactivated and restructured again in August 2013 under the command of NISS to fight the alliance of rebel groups from Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following joint attacks in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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