GENEVA, Switzerland, June 5, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UNHCR is concerned to have learned of an abduction of 14 Eritrean asylum-seekers by unknown armed elements in eastern Sudan on Thursday 4 June 2015.
The incident happened when an armed group in a pickup truck opened fire on a convoy organized by the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees (COR), which was transporting 49 Eritrean asylum-seekers from Wad Sharifey reception centre near Kassala to Shagarab refugee camp.
Fourteen asylum-seekers were kidnapped: seven unaccompanied children (six boys and one girl), five women and two men. In addition, six asylum-seekers suffered from minor injuries when they jumped from the truck in an attempt to escape. UNHCR is providing support to the survivors, who have been moved to in Shagarab camp and is in contact with the Sudanese authorities, who are investigating the case.
UNHCR welcomes this investigation and has asked the Government that no effort be spared in apprehending those responsible and bringing them to account. UNHCR urges that all movements of asylum-seekers be systematically accompanied by a security escort.
Prior to this incident, the Government of Sudan and UNHCR were seeing a reduction in kidnappings and trafficking in the east as a result of ongoing cooperation between UNHCR and the Government to fight this. In the past few days, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to tackling this phenomenon by endorsing the 2015-2017 Strategy to Address Human Trafficking, Kidnappings and Smuggling of Persons in Sudan.