January 24, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Tuesday has thwarted an operation to smuggle a group of 64 illegal migrants across the desert to Libya, said North Darfur state official.
In press statements on Tuesday, North Darfur Deputy Governor Mohamed Braima Hasab al-Nabi said the captured migrants are from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen, pointing the group includes 48 men, 10 women and 6 children.
He added they are currently being held in North Darfur, saying they would be handed over to the Ministry of Interior to take the necessary measures.
The Deputy Governor pointed the illegal migrants were heading to Libya, saying the preliminary investigations showed that their final destination was Europe.
He praised the role of the RSF in controlling the borders of the state, stressing their commitment to President Omer al-Bashir directives to combat terrorism and human trafficking.
Hasab al-Nabi added they seek to capture the masterminds of these operations, saying they are determined to eradicate this phenomenon.
For his part, the director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in North Darfur Awad al-Karim al-Ghurashi said the migrants were heading to Europe, pointing the government is exerting huge efforts to help the international community preserve lives of innocent people.
He pointed that this group came from Port Sudan to North Darfur, saying each of the illegal migrants pays large sums of money that could reach $4000 to the human traffickers.
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.
- RSF troops in camouflage and draped with ammunition show off the spoils from a major clash with the rebel (JEM), in Nyala 13 May 2015 (Photo AFP/Ashraf Shazly)
Earlier this month, RSF said it has intercepted the smuggling of 1500 illegal migrants on the Sudanese-Libyan border during the last seven months.
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.
On 17 January, the Sudanese parliament passed the RSF Act which integrates the militia in the Sudanese army and provides that its commander be appointed by the President of the Republic.