Eritrean regime’s involvement in the Sinai tragedy
Any one in doubt about the Eritrean regime’s involvement in the Sinai tragedy: read this part from the UN Monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea report: S/2011/433 Pages: 109/110 J. Human smuggling and trafficking 421. The well-documented exodus
Any one in doubt about the Eritrean regime’s involvement in the Sinai tragedy: read this part from the UN Monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea report: S/2011/433
J. Human smuggling and trafficking
421. The well-documented exodus of young Eritreans to escape poverty or
obligatory “national service” represents yet another opportunity for corruption and illicit revenue. People smuggling is so pervasive that it could not be possible
without the complicity of Government and party officials, especially military
officers working in the western border zone, which is headed by General Teklai
Kifle “Manjus”. Multiple sources have described to the Monitoring Group how
Eritrean officials collaborate with ethnic Rashaida smugglers to move their human
cargo through the Sudan into Egypt and beyond. This is in most respects the same
network involved in smuggling weapons through to Sinai and into Gaza.
422. According to former Eritrean military officials and international human rights
activists, military officers involved in the practice charge roughly $3,000 a head for
each person exiting Eritrea. Eritreans seeking to leave the country illegally (i.e.
without an exit visa), and who can afford to pay these fees, often choose to do so
rather than risk imprisonment.
423. In some cases, however, smugglers may demand an additional ransom payment
up to $20,000 per head in order to release their charges. An Eritrean directly
involved in smuggling operations into Egypt explained to the Monitoring Group
how family members are required to send the funds via money transfer agencies to
Eritrean officials operating in the Eritrean embassy in Egypt, and in Israel, in order
to secure the release of their relatives.
424. Although the Government of Eritrea prohibits human smuggling, and has
reportedly imprisoned some officials for taking part in it, senior Government and/or
party officials linked to General Kifle’s command profit from the practice.360 The
Monitoring Group has obtained details of a Swiss bank account into which the
proceeds from smuggling have been deposited and has provided the Swiss
authorities with information related to this account, together with the personal and
contact details of the Swiss-based coordinator of this trafficking ring and details of
the coordinator’s Egypt-based associates.