Eritrean Olympian says relative kidnapped in Egypt's Sinai

July 13, 2013 22:09

ADDIS ABABA - A relative of Zersenay Tadese, Eritrea's first-ever Olympic medallist, is being held captive in Egypt's Sinai by traffickers who are seeking a $44,000 ransom, the athlete said via Twitter on Saturday.

Since 2009, human traffickers have snatched thousands of Eritrean refugees from camps in eastern Sudan for ransom, sexual exploitation, forced marriage and bonded labour, while others are kidnapped in Egypt while trying to cross to Israel.

Security officials say the refugees are often captured by the Rashaida, an ethnic-Arab group in Sudan and Eritrea, and sold to Egyptian Bedouins from the Sinai Desert.

"I just received a call from a relative being held captive in the Sinai, we're being asked for 44,000 Dollars. I don't know what to do!" Zersenay said on his Twitter account.

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