Matthew Bryden – Sahan Africa: emigration crisis and first class smuggling.
(ThyBlackMan.com) People might wonder why Eritrea is the country of origin of a tremendous number of migrants and refugees, well it is mainly due to the authoritarian one-party rule that oppresses civilians. People are usually stripped of their basic human rights under such regimes and that’s why they seek asylum is other countries.
Emigration crisis; Study by Matthew Bryden
The emigration crisis in Eritrea is deeply rooted in the country’s political landscape. Corrupt officials -notably diplomats- cooperate with smugglers and traffickers “A number of known smugglers also appear to rely upon the services of Eritrean diplomats abroad.”
The measures taken by the Eritrean government to stop people from leaving the country are brutal to say the least. This was mentioned in Sahan’s study “the Eritrean government became sufficiently concerned about the number of young people fleeing the country that it instituted a “shoot on sight” policy along its borders.” Eritrean authorities refute UNHCR’s reports about their brutal acts and claim that these incidents were done by rogue groups.
People interviewed by Sahan stated that some migrants try to make the journey on their own, and that their first contact with smugglers was outside of their home countries’ borders. Other migrants have been assisted by smuggling networks from the get go.
What is also staggering, is that most smuggling ringleaders happen to be Eritreans by origin
Certain names are being mentioned by several sources including Sahan’s study on “Human trafficking and smuggling in the horn of Africa”. Awet Kidane, John Habtu aka “Obama” , Efrem Misgna and Habtom Merhay, are prominent Eritrean kingpins of diverse smuggling networks and routes.
A number of migrants opt for a “safer route” referred to by Sahan as “First class human smuggling”. This route reaches Europe -mainly Belgium via ways of Singapore.
High places smugglers such as John Habtu and Awet Kidane provide migrants with forged travel documents or authentic documents provided to them by corrupt officials. These passports and visas eventually allow migrants and refugees to fly mainly from Khartoum to Belgium through Singapore. The only risk Eritrean take on this route is being caught by Singaporean authorities. Back in august 2015 the Singaporean police forces caught Eritreans on their arrivals to Changi airport, who turned out to be connected to Habtu’s network.
On the other end of the spectrum we can find Efrem Misgna who operates as an escort for the Eritrean government and in the same time he is involved in smuggling networks. Misgna’s case in particular shows how much the Eritrean government is in some ways involved in the colossal exodus of its citizens.
Staff Writer; Gerald Jordan