Trafficking Highway into Sinai

A trafficking highway has developed through Sudan’s refugee camps into the Sinai desert and Eritrea. Arms are delivered along this highway to Sinai to militants and ransom-seeking gangs.

Eritrea is a country in extreme poverty. Despite this, the country rejects all foreign intervention including food aid. With a population of around 5 million, the country has one of the largest armies in Africa with soldiers who are forced into national service. (Guardian 2012) President Isaias Aferwerki justifies the use of conscripts with the threat of renewed conflict with Ethiopia. Due to the state of the country, most citizens flee; the United Nations estimates around 3,000 people every month fled the country in 2011.  (Guardian 2012)

With such intense emphasis on military and internal conflict, the arms trafficking highway is seeing a steady flow of weapons and ammunition.

It is the multimillion dollar arms trafficking industry that funds the Eritrean military regime which targets and kidnaps Eritrean refugees according to a UN Security Council report.  (Guardian 2012) Many of these refugees are tortured and used for ransom by the military regime.

Asylum-seeking Eritreans also fall prey to Bedouin gangs who use starvation, electrocution, rape, and murder to extort money from relatives.

These gangs receive their weapons from the trafficking highway and many of these weapons are even sold to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Eritrean officials, the Sudanese, and Egyptian gangs are suspected to run this trafficking source, generating more than $10 million a year. UN sources who spoke with the Guardian state it is impossible to fund such an operation without the help of government officials.  (Guardian 2012)

Eritrea’s ambassador to Israel, Tefamariam Tekete Debbas, has dismissed the allegations.

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