The United Arab Emirates announced on Thursday, January 5, that it had arrested Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam in Sudan, the “most wanted human trafficker in the world,” during an international police operation carried out with Interpol.
He is presented as “one of the cruelest smugglers in the world.” Habtemariam headed a notorious Libya-based human trafficking ring responsible for the murder, torture, rape, and extortion of thousands of African migrants wishing to go to Europe.
Kidane’s criminal enterprise might have made tens of thousands of victims since beginning operations in or around 2014, exploiting the desperation of Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Somali nationals eager to flee their homelands.
Shut down the most important trafficking route from Africa to Europe
“Thanks to the professionalism and dedication of our police officers, the world’s most wanted human trafficker will no longer be able to commit his despicable actions,” said Brigadier Saeed Abdullah al-Suwaidi, Director General of the UAE’s Federal Anti-Narcotics Department.
He added, “We have put an end to one of the most important routes of human trafficking to Europe, which affected thousands of migrants from Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan, via Libya to Europe.”
Pursued by authorities on either side of the Mediterranean for years, Kidane took advantage of the lawlessness that wracked Libya after the overthrow of former ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 to establish himself as a kingpin among competing human trafficking bosses in North Africa.
Habtemariam had been on the run since February 2021 after escaping from a courthouse in Ethiopia, where he spent a year behind bars. Walid was supposed to serve an 18-year sentence for raping hundreds of captive women in Libya. However, he paid a 10m birr (over $211,000) bribe to an Ethiopian official, who facilitated his escape. “The [bribed official] secured Kidane’s transportation out of Ethiopia, and he was in Kenya for a while,” journalist Meron Estifanos reports.
In October 2021, the Netherlands and Europol set up a take force to locate Kidane, who has a listed age of 38 but is thought to be closer to 50. Emirati police discovered his whereabouts by extensively investigating his network’s money laundering operations.
‘The man is a savage, a monster’
Described by Dutch authorities as being among the “cruelest” of people smugglers, Kidane’s criminal network preyed upon migrants desperate to flee conflict, poverty, and oppression for European shores, by luring them from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia to his base in the town of Bani Walid, 180km southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Middle East Eye described Kidane and his shocking brutality towards migrants:
His extortion racket targeted migrants hopeful of sailing across the Mediterranean to European shores, kidnapping and holding them at a large warehouse staffed with armed Libyan guards in the town of Bani Walid, 180 km southeast of Tripoli.
Among migrants, Bani Walid became known as a “ghost town” due to the many migrants who would disappear without a trace after being taken there.
Survivors describe widespread rape, starvation, and brutal torture in the warehouse. The torture ends either when victims coerce their loved ones to wire over exorbitant ransom fees of up to $6,000 – or if they cannot pay, they are murdered by their kidnappers.
“Kidane lived in a home adjacent to the camp. He’d come to see us and beat someone up when he felt like it,” one survivor, 24-year-old Ethiopian national Fuad Bedru, told MEE earlier this year. “The man is a savage, a monster.
“I’ve seen every kind of atrocity. Kidane and his gang are bathed in blood. Killing is nothing for them.”
Victims in the Netherlands have described to Dutch police how Kidane would organize football matches between migrants at Bani Walid, where winners would be awarded a woman from the opposing team to rape, and players who miss scoring opportunities would be shot.
Anoter one of Habtemariam’s victims, Kiflezghi, 33, described the horrific abuses he endured while being locked up in Habtemariam’s warehouse:
Kiflezghi remembers vividly the four-month period in 2017 in which he says his younger brother was whipped almost daily at the Bani Walid warehouse until relatives in Europe cobbled together over $10,000 to buy his freedom.
“He is the devil incarnate,” he said over the phone from his residence in Germany. “Our family is still scarred by the stress and anguish we suffered during that horrible year.
“It’s good to hear that people are after him, although I don’t know if it will be effective,” Kiflezghi added. “He has money, influence, and contacts across Africa who protect him. It is what got him out of an Ethiopian jail.”
Wanted in Ethiopia, the Netherlands, and several other countries
Stephen Kavanagh, director of police services at Interpol, confirmed that the smuggler was the “most wanted ” criminal in the Netherlands, Ethiopia, and several other countries.
He explained to the press that the Emirati, Ethiopian, Dutch and Sudanese authorities played “a crucial role” in this investigation.
The arrest of Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam “is proof” of the strength of Interpol’s network and “of what can be achieved when countries work together,“ added Kavanagh.
Good work, Mr. Stephen Kavanagh, director of police services at Interpol, to arrest this little circumcised syphilitic small dick Habtemariam criminal, but why it is so fucking difficult to arrest THE MOST DANGEROUS GENOCIDE CRIMINALS IN THE WORLD: Gates, Schwab, Harari, Fauci, Biden, von der Leyen, Marin, Macron, Ardern, Trudeau, Ghebreyesus, Soros, Bancel, Bourla, Soriot, etc, etc, and all the othe GENOCIDE CRIMINALS?
Interpol is a big joke!
When the headline said “he’s the devil incarnate” I thought they had finally arrested Biden (or Gates, or Fauci, or…)
But the disappointment didn’t last long – this monster (and so many others) need to be rounded up and eliminated, too.
I wonder which American political cartel he worked for. And I wonder why they “cut him loose” all of a sudden.
There is something that is under their feet that the elitist want so they create wars amongst tribes and people. The global elites profit on this misery that they create. Africa is a Hell hole of disable people.