The beginning of the year brought good news for immigrants from East Africa, with the arrest of the famous Eritrean Kidane Zakarias Hapt Mariam in Sudan, during an international police operation carried out by the United Arab Emirates in partnership with Interpol, after Kidane escaped from an Ethiopian court in 2021.
The French newspaper “Le Monde” said that the 39-year-old Eritrean, whose network extended from Somalia to Libya and followed the movement of thousands of Ethiopian youth to Europe every year, is “one of the cruelest smugglers in the world,” according to the Netherlands police, who put him on the list. List of most wanted criminals.
The newspaper stated – in a report by its correspondent in Nairobi, Noi Hoshi Boden – that Kidane made life hell for immigration seekers, by torturing, raping and bullying to blackmail young immigrants and take their money, and Miron Estefanos, a defender of the rights of Eritrean immigrants, says about him, “He is a devil.”
An immigrant was tortured by Kidane, who met him on the streets of Addis Ababa in 2020, and he was arrested for the first time in Ethiopia at that time, and he was tried at that time on charges of human trafficking, but he managed to escape from the federal government court in Addis Ababa a year later, with the complicity of police officers, For Ethiopia to sentence him in absentia to life imprisonment.
For two years, this fugitive smuggler has continued his movement on the smuggling routes linking the Sudanese and Libyan deserts. Stephanos says that Kidan “spent the smuggling season from April to September in Libya, and spent the rest of the time working in the Emirates,” where he was residing, and took it as a center. To run his extensive network of extortion and exact extortionate ransoms on immigrant families.-
Last year, the UAE authorities launched, with the help of Interpol, an investigation targeting Kidan’s network, which included his brother, who “laundered money on his behalf,” noting that these financial transactions “enabled the officers to locate Kidan in Sudan.”--
The UAE judiciary is trying Kidane for embezzlement, and the Netherlands has requested his extradition on charges of human trafficking between Africa and Europe, and considered that “his arrest is a great victory for Dutch and international justice, and that it has a kind of penetration,” according to a member – who did not disclose his name – from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Holland, who is currently prosecuting another Eritrean smuggler named (Walid), whose real name is Tewelde Goetome, on charges of participating in a criminal organization, human trafficking, hostage-taking, extortion and violence, including sex.
The two men – according to the reporter – filled the Libyan desert with fear for a long time, as they imprisoned migrants in their base in Bani Walid (south of Misrata), to better blackmail their families, so that the Bani Walid camp was dubbed a “ghost city” because of the number of migrants who died there under Smugglers rule.
Troy Salam (a pseudonym) from the United States – where she obtained refugee status – that she spent two years in that “hell on earth” when she crossed the Kidan Road in Libya on her way to Sicily to escape military service, where her executioner demanded an additional 7 thousand dollars after 6 She paid thousands already, and when she could not pay, she was imprisoned for 6 months, and she says, “He raped us daily, tortured us, and systematically extinguished his cigarettes on our skins. The man showed unlimited cruelty, as he filmed the torture using his phone to intimidate families and extract ransom from them. He is an animal, a hyena that is excited to see blood.” “.
“These two arrests send a strong signal to the men who thought they were safe from arrest,” Estefanos asserts, hoping to “put an end” to human trafficking from Eritrea.