Home | News    Wednesday 29 January 2020

UAE security firm repatriates Sudanese youth from Libya after protests

Sudanese youth who returned from Libya outside Khartoum airport on 28 January, 2020 (ST photo)
January 28, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Dozens of Sudanese youth who had been sent to Libya by an Emarti firm returned to Sudan on Tuesday after protests and media campaign carried out by their families against the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The families of the returnees organized a campaign on the social media and demonstrated on Monday in front of the UAE embassy in Khartoum, accusing its government of being behind the Black Shield security company.

The security firm signed contracts with some three hundreds of Sudanese youth to work as security guards in the UAE. But, once arrived in the Gulf country, they received military training and sent to Libya against their will, three months after.

50 Sudanese youths arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday noon and went directly to the Emirati embassy in Khartoum, where they held a sit-in there to demand their rights and hold accountable the company for luring them.

Activists also published pictures and videos of a group of young people at Tripoli airport before to return to Sudan.

The involvement of the UAE-based security firm in this affair comes as some senior Sudanese officials are accused of being close to Abu Dhabi and amid reports about their alleged support alongside the UAE to Gen Khalifa Haftar in his war against the UN-backed government.

The families of the youth said that their children were sent to guard the oil refinery and some strategic locations in areas controlled by Haftar forces in Libya.

On Tuesday, several families and relatives protested outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Khartoum, calling to demand the United Arab Emirates to hold accountable Black Shield Company, and to investigate officials in the Sudanese Ministry of Labour who authorized the company’s agents to operate in Sudan. Also, they demand financial compensations for the fees that had paid to these companies to send their children to the Emirates.

One of the Sudanese youth who had succeeded to return to Sudan before to be sent to Libya said that they had been collected from the airport and directly sent to camps in the desert for military training for three months.

In the first official reaction about this issue, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it is closely following the matter with the various authorities in the country.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant state institutions affirm their keenness to ensure the safety of Sudanese working for the company and to exert intensive efforts to reassure the families of the citizens concerned," said the statement

The Foreign Ministry further noted that both Sudan and the UAE agree that the matter "will not affect the distinguished relations and existing cooperation between the two countries."

In a statement attributed to Black Shield, the company denied allegations of "deception and misleading" its employees about the nature of the jobs it offers, or the worksite.

"The company reserves its right to take any legal and judicial measures against everyone who has offended the company," further said Black Shield in its statement.

(ST)