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Sudanese police free 95 victims of human trafficking

Sudanese police officers stand guard in Khartoum on April 10, 2010 (AFP Photo)

December 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM/KASSALA) - A joint police force in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala managed to free 95 victims of human trafficking following an exchange of fire with the perpetrators.

The director of criminal police and commander of the force Abdallah Ahmed al-Sayegh said a joint force from Kassala, Halfa Al-Jadida and Khashm Al-Girba police managed to free foreign victims after fire exchange with the human traffickers.

However, Al-Sayegh didn’t identify the nationalities of the victims.

He told the official news agency SUNA they received information that a human trafficking gang has kept the victims, hostage at a forest east of Tringa village in Khashm Al-Girba County.

He added the police force encircled the area from all directions to prevent the escape of the perpetrators.

“The hostage rescue operation involved fire exchange but there were no injuries among the police, hostages or the culprits,” he said adding a number of the perpetrators have been captured and would be dealt with according to the law

For his part, the director of Kassala State police and rapporteur of the security committee Yahia al-Hadi Sulieman described the operation as “qualitative” in terms of the number of the victims as well as the police officers and the timing of execution.

Meanwhile, the governor of Kassala State Adam Jam’aa on Saturday visited the freed victims announcing 2018 would witness the end of human trafficking phenomenon in the state.

He said this rescue operation is considered the largest in terms of the numbers of the hostages in 2017, urging the police and security organs to continue their efforts with the same “vigour and determination” in 2018.

The governor further said this operation represents a strong response to all the human rights organizations which claim that Sudan is not cooperating in the fight against human trafficking.

The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Saturday issued a decree imposing a six-month state of emergency in North Kordofan and Kassala states

The state presidential minister Al-Rashid Haroun told reporters the state of emergency in the eastern state of Kassala was prompted by security reasons pertaining to the collection of illicit arms as well as combating drugs and human trafficking.

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 its 2017 Trafficking in Persons report, the U.S. Department of State retained Sudan on Tier 3, saying the Sudanese government “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so”.

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.

The East African nation has also forged a strategic partnership with several European countries and the EU to combat illegal migration and human trafficking.

(ST)