Ethiopia Arrests Suspected Ringleader of Human Trafficking Gang, Five others

By Staff Reporter

NISS-ethiopiaMarch 13, 2020 ( -- Ethiopian police said they have arrested a six-member migrant-smuggling gang including one of Interpol’s most wanted human traffickers - Kidane Zekarias Haftemariam.

Kidane Zekarias Haftemariam, the suspected leader of the smugglers in the Horn and North Africa and others were captured between March 3-13, 2020, during a joint operations conducted by federal police and the country’s intelligence Security Services and the-telecom, the federal police said on Friday in a statement.

Kidane and associates were allegedly engaged in the smuggling of migrants in collaborations with their agents in Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea in return for large sums of money.

The police statement issued on Friday said nothing where the smugglers were apprehended and if the Ethiopian police collaborated with the police of different countries in the region and beyond to arrest the suspected human traffickers.

The smugglers have been charged with trafficking thousands of undocumented migrants, the majority of whom died en route to Europe.

After several years of manhunt, the accused leader of a large human trafficking network and drug ring was finally arrested, the statement said.

The human trafficking network extends from the Horn of Africa all the way to Europe and is carried in a well-organized way, police said.

The alleged smugglers also have been charged with abduction, rape, arbitrary arrest, corrosive handling and killing of migrants.

Ethiopia is a country of origin and a transit to three migration routes in Africa, namely Northern, Southern, and Eastern African routes.

Tempted by job prospects abroad, many Ethiopian migrants use smugglers for a trip where too many end up falling prey to trafficking. They face unimaginable hardships - from abductions, attacks, hunger, and dehydration, to physical, sexual and psychological abused restriction of movements and denial of salaries at the destination.

Ethiopia is preparing a new law in an attempt to enhance its capacity to fight traffickers and smugglers and dismantling organized crime groups in the region.

Trafficking in Ethiopia mostly takes the form of transporting migrants by deception, coercion, and then making them susceptible to different forms of exploitation.

The 2016 United States report on human trafficking indicated that the number of trafficked and smuggled Ethiopians each day was twice the number of individuals who left the country legally.

According to the police statement, the 1st suspect Kidane Zekarias has been in manhunt by Interpol and Euro-pol for a long time.

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