Left: An image of the man believed to be Mered Medhanie previously released by the UK National Crime Agency;
Right: the man extradited to Ital

A man arrested in Sudan and extradited to Italy accused of being a top people-smuggler says the authorities have got the wrong man.

Earlier this week, prosecutors announced the capture of trafficking kingpin Mered Medhanie.

But the man currently being held in jail says he is instead Medhanie Tesfarmariam Berhe, his lawyer says.

He has been questioned by a judge and his legal situation is expected to be defined in the coming days.

The reported capture of Mered Medhanie, dubbed The General, was hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against people-smugglers who send thousands of migrants on dangerous boats to Europe.

Investigators say Mered Medhanie was responsible for the deaths of 359 migrants who drowned when their boat sank off the Italian coast in October 2013.

The arrested man was seized by Sudanese police last month with the help of British and Italian authorities.

But doubts began to emerge soon after this week's extradition, with friends and family saying that the man seen handcuffed being escorted off a plane was not the suspected trafficker.

Two women said to be sisters of Medhanie Tesfarmariam Berhe said he was the one arrested instead. He was said to be a 27-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker.

Italian prosecutors say checks are being carried out.


Eritrea: An Extraordinary Love Story from 1920s

Documents of the colonial era are sparse and incomplete, but they are also one of the written...

Eritrea: Veronica Almedom - A defender of Eritreans’ human rights

Veronica Almedom, who arrived in Switzerland from Eritrea as a baby, is now a member of the...

Eritrean cyclist Eyob conquers steepest climb in Stage 4 of Tour de Indonesia

Eyob dominated in ascending the 147.3-kilometer stage by clocking in at 4:16:33. It was an...

Eritrea: Haben’s First Book

Eritrea: Part II - Deciphering the Peace Accord between Eritrea and Ethiopia - An Interview with Yosief Ghebrehiwet

The fact that both Isaias and Abbiy have conditioned the implementation of the Peace Accord on the...

Eritrea’s Saba Kidane: Write Saba Write!

What is unique about Saba is the fact she gets lost in her poetry during recitals. Poetry is her...