The UAE have been able to arrest the long-sought human smuggler Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam, Interpol said in a statement on Thursday (Jan.05).
Known for his violent treatment of migrants and as the head of a major criminal organization behind the kidnapping, extortion and murder of East African migrants, the Eritrean national has been wanted by the international policing body since 2019.
He is repotedly the subject of two Interpol red notices by Ethiopia and the Netherlands, and the capture was nine months in the making, according to a Twitter message by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, the UAE’s Interior Minister.
Following a task force meeting between Ethiopia, Sudan, The Netherlands, UAE, Europol and Regional Operational Centre, Emirati authorities conducted a thorough investigation of his network and family members, identifying money laundering activities that led to Sudan, the news agencies had reported.
He was arrested in Sudan on January 1. He will reportedly end up spending life in prison after the due legal processes are completed.
The Eritrean will now face trial in the UAE for money laundering, and authorities will review the possibility of his extradition after the case is closed in the UAE, Suwaidi was quoted as saying by AFP.
The UAE is reportedly discussing with Interpol the possibility of launching another investigation into a major human trafficker.
The Interpol is headed by Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi of the UAE. The senior police official is serving a four-year term in Lyon, France that started in November 2021.