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Smuggling networks are quite intricate, their networks are multilateral: they involve people on both sides of the Mediterranean, that’s to say on both continents -Africa and Europe.

In order to combat these networks and destroy them, governments of several African and European countries need to collaborate and work together. Most African countries involved fail to see the gravity of the issue and treat the matter as a domestic problem.

Italian investigations:  Study by Sahan Africa

The majority of “leaders” monitoring the central Mediterranean route are of Eritrean origin they join forces with their Somali and Sundanese counterparts.  It is obviously challenging to catch the criminals of such complex networks.

Italian investigations were held in 2013 and 2014 due to the terrible tragedies that took place near Lampedusa. According to sahan these investigations disclosed a lot of considerable details “these enquiries revealed, in considerable detail, a great deal of information about the organisation and structure of key human smuggling and trafficking networks between the Horn of Africa and Europe via the Central Mediterranean Route.” These two operations where respectively called “operation Tokhla” and “operation Glauco 2”

The Tokhla enquiry brought about several arrests in Sicily. Maesho Tesfamariam who is an Eritrean ringleader based in Germany was also captured following this investigation.

The 2014 Glauco 2 operation was an 18-month ongoing investigation, that uncovered the operating methods of a couple of notorious smugglers that go by the name of “Medhanie Yehdego Mered” who is originally Eritrean and “Ermias Ghermay” who is Ethiopian. According to the Study made by Sahan Africa these two people were responsible for “the vessel that sank off the coast of Lampedusa in October 2013.”  The operation documented communications between these two people and their associates who were based in several countries including Sudan, Israel, Sweden and Switzerland. On the other hand, Mered was responsible for a boat that drowned on 18 April 2015. The investigative squad intercepted calls between Mered and his counterparts based in Sudan , Italy , the Netherlands and Sweden. Based on Sahan’s study “The public release of the Glauco 2 findings apparently disrupted Mered’s plans to emigrate to Europe and sent him into hiding, leaving his network in the hands of his associate, “Wedi Issak”.”

Several prominent names were mentioned by the same study including the Eritrean Abdurazak Esmail, who is one of the largest smugglers managing a network from Libya. He works in parallel with other people named “Jaber” and “Abduselam” and another accomplice called Jamal Saudi – a former prisoner in Eritrea.

In case the accusations against them are correct, then these aforementioned people are responsible for the story of the ghost boat, the vessel that disappeared at sea with 180 passengers back in April 2014. Several other boats had the same fate in 2015 as well. the smuggling networks are widespread between Sudan and Libya and there are several people involved from both countries but most of the traffickers are of Eritrean origins. This was clearly mentioned in the published reports of the Tokhla operation and the Sahan Africa study “Eritrean smugglers and traffickers in Libya and in Sudan include “Kidane”, “Walid”, “Chegora” and a female smuggler, “Zaid”, all of whom operate warehouses in Ajdabiya. Among the largest smugglers exclusively operating in Sudan and feeding into networks in Libya are “Wedi German”, “Kiros”, “John Merhay”, and “Shumay Ghirmay”.”

Ethiopian investigations: Study by Sahan Africa

Based on Sahan’s study, Ethiopian authorities conducted an investigation in 2014 and 2015. This enquiry lead to the arrest of over two hundred traffickers most of which were related to the southern route – the corridor to South Africa-. The federal police of Ethiopia claims that despite all these arrests migrants are still moving on and being smuggled in and out of the same countries. According to the police as well, migrants are channelled from Somaliland and Eritrea into Ethiopia all the way to Addis Ababa where they are usually linked with their following smugglers. The migrants will eventually cross Sudan via a transit hub located near Khartoum called “Camp Hajar”  in order to reach Libya afterwards (as demonstrated below) .

(Bloomberg demonstrated the northern route)

Ethiopian investigation uncovered the financial transactions of a notorious smuggler that goes by the name of Ali Hashi who happened to be a relative of a famous Somali businessman. Ethiopian authorities possess a list that has all the names and phone numbers of smuggling drivers.

In accordance to the aforementioned information a Sudanese official contacted by Sahan stated the following “[This] issue is affecting our border security tremendously. Parts of Libya are becoming uncontrollable. It is becoming a smugglers’ paradise, everybody can do whatever they want to do. The smuggling trade is therefore threatening the security of Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, the whole region.”

The whole region is clearly under threat if the authorities of the countries involved don’t take the necessary measures to secure their borders.


Several people have been killed in a stampede in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, after police fired tear gas and shots to disperse a protest.

Thousands had gathered for a religious festival in Bishoftu, Oromia region, 25 miles from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

Police responded after anti-government protesters threw stones and bottles, reports said. There was panic and some people fell into a ditch.bishoftu-festival

There have been months of deadly clashes in Ethiopia recently.

People in the Oromia and Amhara regions have complained about political and economic marginalization.

Crowds at October 2 Oromo festival chanted “We need freedom” and “We need justice”, witnesses said.

Some participants crossed their wrists above their heads, a gesture that has become a symbol of Oromo protests.

The government said in a statement that “lives were lost”, adding: “Those responsible will face justice.”

The unrest was sparked in November 2015 by a plan to expand the capital into Oromia. This led to fears that farmers from the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, would be displaced.

The plan was later dropped but protests continued, highlighting issues such as marginalization and human rights.


President Barack Obama has addressed the African Union (AU) warning that Africa could not advance if its leaders refused to step down when their terms ended.

Barack Obama also called for an end to the “cancer of corruption”, saying it took money away from development.

He made the comments in the first ever address by a US leader to the 54-member AU at its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The address marked the climax of Barack Obama’s five-day trip to Africa.Barack Obama African Union speech

Barack Obama visited Kenya and Ethiopia, the headquarters of the AU.

He said African leaders should respect their constitutions, and step down when their term ends.

“Nobody should be president for life,” Barack Obama said.

The US president said that democracy existed in name but not in substance when journalists were jailed and activists were threatened.

Corruption was “draining billions of dollars” from Africa, he added.

Barack Obama also said the money could be used to build schools and hospitals.

Researchers have unearthed a new species of ancient human in the Afar region of Ethiopia.

The study, published in the journal Nature, says the research team discovered jaw bones and teeth, which date to between 3.3 million and 3.5 million years old.

It means this new hominin was alive at the same time as several other early human species, suggesting our family tree is more complicated than was thought.Australopithecus deyiremeda discovered in Ethiopia

The new species has been called Australopithecus deyiremeda, which means “close relative” in the language spoken by the Afar people.

The ancient remains are thought to belong to four individuals, who would have had both ape and human-like features.

The age of the remains means that this was potentially one of four different species of early humans that were all alive at the same time.

The most famous of these is Australopithecus afarensis – known as Lucy – who lived between 2.9 million and 3.8 million years ago, and was initially thought to be our direct ancestor.

However, the discovery of another species called Kenyanthropus platyops in Kenya in 2001, and of Australopithecus bahrelghazali in Chad, and now Australopithecus deyiremedaI, suggests that there were several species co-existing.

A fossilized jawbone of what scientists claim is one of the very first humans has been discovered un Ethiopia.

The 2.8 million-year-old specimen is 400,000 years older than researchers thought that our kind first emerged.

The discovery suggests climate change spurred the transition from tree dweller to upright walker.

Prof. Brian Villmoare of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas said the discovery makes a clear link between an iconic 3.2 million-year-old hominin (human-like primate) discovered in the same area in 1974, called “Lucy”.

The fossil record between the time period when Lucy and her kin were alive and the emergence of Homo erectus (with its relatively large brain and humanlike body proportions) two million years ago is sparse.First human jawbone

The 2.8 million-year-old lower jawbone was found in the Ledi-Geraru research area, Afar Regional State, by Ethiopian student Chalachew Seyoum.

The fossil is of the left side of the lower jaw, along with five teeth. The back molar teeth are smaller than those of other hominins living in the area and are one of the features that distinguish humans from more primitive ancestors, according to Prof. William Kimbel, director of Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins.

A computer reconstruction of a skull belonging to the species Homo habilis, which has been published in Nature journal, indicates that it may well have been the evolutionary descendant of the species announced today.

The dating of the jawbone might help answer one of the key questions in human evolution. What caused some apes to climb down from the trees and make their homes on the ground.

A separate study in Science hints that a change in climate might have been a factor. An analysis of the fossilized plant and animal life in the area suggests that what had once been lush forest had become dry grassland.

As the trees made way for vast plains, apes found a way of exploiting the new environmental niche, developing bigger brains and becoming less reliant on having big jaws and teeth by using tools.

According to scientists, there were several different species of humans co-existing in Africa around two million years ago with only one of them surviving and eventually evolving into our species, Homo sapiens. It is as if nature was experimenting with different versions of the same evolutionary configuration until one succeeded.


A new study suggests that warmer temperatures are causing malaria to spread to higher altitudes.

US researchers from the University of Michigan have found that people living in the highlands of Africa and South America are at an increased risk of catching the mosquito-borne disease during hotter years.

They believe that temperature rises in the future could result in millions of additional cases in some areas.

The research is published in the journal Science.

Prof. Mercedes Pascual, who carried out the research, said: “The impact in terms of increasing the risk of exposure to disease is very large.”

Areas at higher altitudes have traditionally provided a haven from this devastating disease.

Both the malaria parasite and the mosquito that carries it struggle to cope with the cooler air.

Prof. Mercedes Pascual said: “The risk of the disease decreases with altitude and this is why historically people have settled in these higher regions.”

Warmer temperatures are causing malaria to spread to higher altitudes

Warmer temperatures are causing malaria to spread to higher altitudes

But the scientists say the disease is entering new regions that had previously been malaria-free.

To investigate, scientists looked at densely populated areas in the highlands of Colombia and Ethiopia, where there are detailed records of both temperature and malaria cases from the 1990s to 2005.

They found that in warmer years, malaria shifted higher into the mountains, while in cooler years it was limited to lower elevations.

“This expansion could in a sense account for a substantial part of the increase of cases we have already observed in these areas,” said Prof. Mercedes Pascual.

The team believes that rising temperatures could cause a further spread.

In Ethiopia, where nearly half of the population live at an altitude of between 5,250ft and 7,875ft, the scientists believe there could be many more cases.

“We have estimated that, based on the distribution of malaria with altitude, a 1C rise in temperature could lead to an additional three million cases in under-15-year-olds per year,” said Prof. Mercedes Pascual.

The team believes that because people living in areas that have never been exposed to malaria are particularly vulnerable to the disease, attempts to stop the spread should be focused on areas at the edge of the spread. The disease is easier to control there than at lower altitudes where it has already established.

According to WHO estimates, there were about 207 million cases of malaria in 2012 and an estimated 627,000 deaths. Most deaths occur among children living in Africa.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s new leader, has been sworn in after the death of long-time leader Meles Zenawi in August.

“I am very happy to take the responsibility of being prime minister,” said Hailemariam Desalegn, 47, as lawmakers banged on their desks in support, AFP news agency reports.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia's new leader, has been sworn in after the death of long-time leader Meles Zenawi in August

Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia's new leader, has been sworn in after the death of long-time leader Meles Zenawi in August

Hailemariam Desalegn had been deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

Meles Zenawi died last month in Brussels after 21 years in power.


Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s prime minister, has died at the age of 57, state media say, after weeks of illness.

Meles Zenawi died in a hospital abroad, said state media and a government spokesman, but they did not say exactly where or give details of his ailment.

Speculation about his health mounted when he missed an African Union summit in Addis Ababa last month.

Meles Zenawi took power as the leader of rebels that ousted communist leader Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.

He had dominated Ethiopian public life since the 1990s, as president and then prime minister.

He was austere and hardworking, with a discipline forged from years spent in the guerrilla movement – and almost never smiled.

Meles Zenawi died in a hospital abroad, said state media and a government spokesman, but they did not say exactly where or give details of his ailment

Meles Zenawi died in a hospital abroad, said state media and a government spokesman, but they did not say exactly where or give details of his ailment

“Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away yesterday [Monday] evening at around midnight,” government spokesman Bereket Simon said, adding that he was “abroad” when he died, according to AFP news agency.

“He had been recuperating well, but suddenly something happened and he had to be rushed to the ICU [intensive care unit] and they couldn’t keep him alive.”

State television said he had died after contracting a “sudden” infection.

Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also Ethiopia’s foreign minister, will be acting head of government, state television said.

“Even if Ethiopia has been badly affected for missing its great leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi initiated fundamental policies and strategies which will be further strengthened,” the TV said.

Meles Zenawi had not been seen in public for some eight weeks prior to his death, and was reported to have been admitted to hospital in July.

But three weeks ago, the spokesman Bereket Simon said he was in “a good condition and recuperating”, and dismissed reports he was critically ill.

At the time he declined to give any details about Meles Zenawi’ whereabouts or what he was suffering from.

But reports suggested Meles Zenawi was in hospital in Belgium, suffering from a stomach complaint.