News Highlights: More forces deployed in Sudan, Israel starts deportations amidst protest, Libyan officials connected to trafficking

In this week’s news highlights: central reserve forces deployed to Kassala; child soldiers released in South Sudan; refugee funds scandal in the government of Uganda; Libyan officials connected to smugglers and human traffickers; Qaddafi’s frozen funds are flowing to unknown destinations; Libyan people blocked by armed forces inTawergha; Israel starts deporting asylum seekers amidst global protest; Netanyahu accuses Soros of support for the asylum seekers; and France to increase budget for education in development  aid.

Greater Horn of Africa

Sudan: Central reserve forces deployed in Kassala
The Sudanese government has deployed more central reserve forces from Khartoum to Kassala, reportedly in order to provide further security against human trafficking and smuggling of illegal arms, drugs and food. This follows after Sudan closed its border with Eritrea, which is currently being secured by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Sudan alleges that threats by Eritrea and Egypt led to the closing of its border, as well as the combatting of trafficking and smuggling of people and goods.

South Sudan: UN announces release of child soldiersin South Sudan
United Nations has announced that more than 300 child soldiers have been released from armed groups in South Sudan and will now begin their reintegration into the communities. The South Sudan Liberation Movement had recruited 563 children, and around 137 had been associated with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army In-Opposition, data has shown.

Uganda: UN Report shows gross incidences regarding refugee operations in Uganda; 4high officials investigated
The office of the Prime Minister of Ugandahas been shaken by scandals regarding abuse of funds for refugee aid. Sources say that the police have startedinvestigations and many officials are facing interdiction. MrOnek, Ugandan Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, noted that after the allegations, the US, European Union and UK threatened to withdraw aid to refugee programmes in Uganda.

North Africa

Libya: Security services in Libya connected with smugglers and traffickers, UN report shows
A report of a UN Security Council committee has shed light on the relations of Libya’s officials with armed groups involved in human smuggling and trafficking. These armed groups, being party to larger political and military coalitions, have specialized in illegal smuggling activities and most of them “were nominally affiliated to official security institutions”, UN experts say.

Belgium: Qaddafi’s ‘frozen funds’ flow to unknown payees, investigation shows
Data presented by Politico shows that even though the Libyan dictator’s wealth is supposed to be kept in trust until the region stabilizes, interest payments flowed from frozen accounts in Brussels to bank accounts in Luxembourg and Bahrain. “Legal documents, bank statements, emails and dozens of interviews point to a loophole in the sanctions regime,” Politico has maintained.

Libya: Presidency Council signed a decree in December, but families cannot return      
Forces from Misrata displaced around 40.000 people from the city of Tawergha in 2011 as retaliation for support to the Qadaffi regime. A decree was signed by the Presidency Council in Libya for the return of Internally Displaced People, but when the people attempted to return, armed groups blocked them from entering the city of Tawergha. The Presidency Council denounced these actions, supporting the local efforts to resolve the issue.


Israel: deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees starts; global protests
Israel has issued deportation notices to 38.000 African asylum seekers, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan. Global protests are being held against this move, supported by many human rights groups, rabbis and others, such as pilots refusing to deport people.

Israel: PM Benjamin Netanyahu accuses George Soros of supporting African refugees in Israel
The Israeli Prime Minister accused Soros for allegedly funding a campaign against the government’s plans to deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers.  Netanyahu also compared his actions to those of the ex US President Barack Obama’s, arguing that “Obama deported two million infiltrators and they didn’t say anything.”


France: France increases support budget for education in development
During the Conference of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), PM Macron announced that France will prioritize education to aid development. France intends to increase its financial contribution to €200 million for the 2018-2020 period, becoming the fourth biggest donor in the GPE, following the UK, the EU and Norway.