Report: Eritrean diplomats are aiding people smugglers

A new report by a regional bloc says human smugglers are increasingly using Eritrean diplomats to traffic people to Europe.

The report by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in East Africa includes the names and photos of alleged smuggling kingpins who dominate the illicit trade that has led to the flow of nearly 39,000 Eritreans to Europe.

The report, which was co-authored by the group SAHAN Foundation, said that smugglers inside Eritrea rely on the services of Eritrean diplomats in Sudan and Libya, two of the countries through which Eritreans are trafficked on their way to Europe. The diplomats were not identified.

Biniam Berhe, a political officer at Eritrea's African Union mission here, said the report is "utterly false, preposterous and irresponsible."