Eritrea: Europol Issues Warning to EU Police Forces Over Kidnapping of Eritrean Migrants
Europol has issued a warning to EU law enforcement authorities about the kidnapping of irregular migrants from Eritrea and the subsequent extortion of money from relatives or friends residing in Europe. In some cases, the
Europol has issued a warning to EU law enforcement authorities about the kidnapping of irregular migrants from Eritrea and the subsequent extortion of money from relatives or friends residing in Europe. In some cases, the ransoms extorted from European contacts have ranged from EUR 4400 to EUR 25700. In most cases, the process involved multiple negotiation steps and repeated increases in the ransom amount. Payments were made to multiple cash handlers used by organized criminal groups in locations inside and outside of Europe. The warning gave examples from Sweden and two other European countries in which demands were made on people who were relatives of Eritrean kidnapping victims held hostage and exposed to torture in the Sinai Peninsula. The operations were run by organized crime groups of Bedouin origin exploiting irregular migrants who had been kidnapped in Eritrea and Sudan by groups of Rashaida origin.
The Director of Europol said his organization was ready for coordinated action with Interpol to deal with the problem in Europe and the Sinai region. The European Commission for Home Affairs said this was a terrible tragedy that needed to be tackled from every possible angle, and she called for more cooperation between Member States, in particular regarding the extortion of individuals and the organized crime groups operating within Europe” that support and perpetuate the horrendous practices occurring in the Sinai.”