New York, Jun 6 : An armed group opened fire on a convoy transporting Eritrean asylum-seekers in eastern Sudan and kidnapped 14 of them, including six boys and one girl, the United Nations refugee agency reported on Friday and urged the Sudanese Government to spare no effort in apprehending those responsible and bringing them to account.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the incident occurred on Thursday 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.
In a press release, UNHCR said 14 asylum-seekers were kidnapped: seven unaccompanied children (six boys and one girl), five women and two men.
In addition, it said, 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 and is in contact with the Sudanese authorities, who are investigating the case.
The refugee agency said it welcomes this investigation and has asked the Government that no effort be spared in apprehending those responsible and bringing them to account.
UNHCR also urges that all movements of asylum-seekers be systematically accompanied by a security escort.
Prior to this incident, there had been a reduction in kidnappings and trafficking in the east as a result of ongoing cooperation between UNHCR and the Government.
Photo: UNHCR/K. Ringuette
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