Iraq arrests ‘most dangerous’ smugglers, says security
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Ministry of Interior on Thursday announced the arrest of one of the most dangerous suspects in human smuggling, a person on the European Union most-wanted list.
The arrest of the suspects was made in coordination with the Ministry, intelligence agency, the International Criminal Police Organization – universally known as Interpol – and authorities in the Kurdistan Region, the statement noted.
The Ministry did not elaborate further on the identities of the suspects or the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
Mostly in search of better economic opportunities, Iraqi migrants risk their lives seeking asylum in Western European countries.
In recent years, following the fight against ISIS and economic decline exacerbated by lower oil prices, thousands of people from Iraq’s federal provinces and Kurdistan Region have taken the risky journey, crossing the perilous waters to reach Europe.
Following a number of drowning incidents in European waters, particularly in the English Channel in 2021, the Kurdistan Regional Government took a number of measures to curb smuggling.
Two years ago, Erbil and Baghdad had worked together to repatriate stranded migrants at the Polish-Belarusian border, when a significant number of Iraqi asylum seekers flocked to the border area in the hope of reaching Europe.