One of north Africa’s most notorious human traffickers, accused of extorting and torturing thousands of refugees and migrants in Libya, has been found guilty on five counts of smuggling and trafficking in Ethiopia.
Tewelde Goitom, known as “Welid”, operated in Libya between roughly 2014 and 2018 and is thought to have been at the heart of a highly lucrative and brutal trade trafficking desperate migrants trying to reach Europe.
Goitom was arrested in Ethiopia in March 2020, one month after one of his co-conspirators, another well-known trafficker, Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam, was also arrested. They are both originally from Eritrea.
The two men shared a compound in Bani Walid, a Libyan town nicknamed the “ghost city” by migrants, because of its lawlessness and the large number of people who disappeared there.