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UAE says it leads arrest of most-wanted smuggler – Middle East Watch

UAE says it leads arrest of most-wanted smuggler – Middle East Watch

The United Arab Emirates has detailed its role in an international operation to apprehend an Eritrean fugitive in Sudan accused of being the “world’s most wanted” people smuggler, AFP reports.

Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam is accused of being a smuggling ringleader who ran a camp in Libya where hundreds of East African migrants seeking to go to Europe were allegedly kidnapped, raped and extorted.

Saeed Abdullah Al-Suwaidi, a UAE Interior Ministry official, told reporters that Habtemariam, who was the subject of two Interpol red notices issued by Ethiopia and the Netherlands, was arrested by Sudanese police on January 1, coordinated by UAE authorities.

Eritreans have been on Interpol’s radar since 2019 for “particularly cruel and violent treatment of migrants,” Interpol said.

UAE authorities said they were discussing with Interpol the possibility of another investigation into a major trafficker.

The Eritrean will now face trial in the United Arab Emirates on money laundering charges, with authorities reviewing the possibility of his extradition once the UAE case is concluded, the report said.

read: Interpol arrests smuggling ringleader in Sudan

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