KIDNAPPED ERITREANS: SITUATION IN EGYPT COMPLICATES RELEASE
01 February , 15:28
(ANSAmed) - ROME, FEBRUARY 1 - The chaotic situation in Egypt makes the prospects for the release of the Eritrean refugees who are held hostage for more than two months now by human traffickers in the Sinai even more difficult. ''They haven't even received food for days'', explained don Mose' Zerai, who keeps in contact with the kidnappers. ''Today I had a meeting with Undersecretaries Mantica, Craxi and Scotti at the Foreign Ministry. But the problem at this moment is, that there is no institutional interlocutor in Egypt at the moment.
But Cairo hasn't done anything at all so far. I've asked the Ministry to ask for a possible intervention by the UN troops, also to prevent new similar cases''. Don Mose' keeps in contact over the phone with some of the kidnappers and talked to them today as well. They allow this contact in fact to make it easier to pay a possible ransom.
''Money that will end up in Dubai or in Sudan, which shows how the network of traffickers is organised''. Around 70 of the original group of 250 people who were kidnapped in the Sinai have been released after a ransom was paid. At least 20 people have died so far from the hardship and violence they have suffered. The kidnappers attacked several police stations in the past days and have taken several prisoners which the police had arrested while they were trying to cross the border. More people died in the shootouts according to reports. But the traffickers are holding others as well. ''We are in contact with three groups'', explains don Zerai, ''and I can't say how many people have been kidnapped. But there are at least 20 gangs of human traffickers active in the Sinai''. (ANSAmed).