Algeria expels a new wave of 600 African migrants to Niger

More than 600 migrants, from a dozen African countries, have arrived in northern Niger after being turned back from Algeria, AFP learned on September 20, 2022 from local authorities. Information confirmed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Escorted to the border

A total of 669 nationals from West and Central Africa have arrived “walk” on September 17 in Assamaka, the nearest town in Niger to the border with Algeria, from where they were expelled, according to local authorities. Among them are 286 Malians, 166 Guineans, 37 Burkinabè, 27 Senegalese, 25 Beninese, 22 Ivorians, 21 Gambians, 21 Sudanese, 19 Nigerians, 14 Cameroonians and 14 Sierra Leoneans.

The IOM, present in Niger, is trying to provide them with assistance “Migrants who wish to join our assisted voluntary return program can be admitted to our transit center in Assamaka”assured the organization.

Already on September 6, 847 migrants, mostly Nigeriens (including 40 women and 74 unaccompanied children), had arrived in Agadez, after being turned back from Algeria, the municipality of this large city in northern Niger had indicated. According to a humanitarian source, “the Algerian authorities escorted them by bus to the Nigerien border”.

No longer just a transit country

According to the United Nations, Algeria has expelled tens of thousands of irregular migrants from West and Central Africa since 2014. The country is considered by sub-Saharan migrants as a relatively wealthy country and a transit point to Europe. Some of these migrants try to survive in Algeria, often by begging, becoming a shoemaker or working in construction. Algeria thus becomes a country of destination.

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In early July, IOM announced that it had rescued 50 West African migrants, including women and children, “blocked” in the desert north of Niger, near the Libyan border. Libya is another transit point for illegal immigrants to Europe.

“Malicious Campaign”

In June, the organization Médecins sans frontières (MSF) denounced “inhuman treatment” inflicted on West African migrants seeking to reach Europe and whose “about 2,000” are “on average monthly” deported from Algeria and Libya to neighboring Niger. MSF has identified 23,171 migrants deported in 2020 and 27,208 others in 2021.

Socialist Algeria, which advocates friendship between peoples, never recognizes these expulsions. Algiers, which has no asylum legislation, has often denied these accusations, denouncing a “malicious campaign”.

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