Algeria expels over 650 migrants to Northern Niger
More than 650 migrants from a dozen African countries have arrived in northern Niger after being expelled by Algeria, local authorities said Tuesday.
Some 669 returnees from Algeria, including two Nigeriens, and 667 West and Central African nationals arrived on foot on September 17 in Assamaka, the Nigerien town closest to the Algerian border, after being expelled from Algeria, local authorities said.
The migrants include 648 men, 14 women and 5 minors. The group includes nationals from Mali, Guinea, Burkin Faso, Senegal, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon and Sierra Leone. Nationals from Chad, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Togo were also among the expelled migrants, according to the authorities.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has confirmed to the media the arrival of the wave of migrants expelled from Algeria, without specifying, however, their number.
“We are willing to provide assistance. Migrants who wish to join our assisted voluntary return program can be admitted to our transit center in Assamaka,” IOM said.
On September 6, some 847 migrants, mostly Nigeriens, including 40 women and 74 unaccompanied children, arrived in Agadez after being turned back from Algeria.
In early July, the IOM announced that it had rescued 50 West African migrants, including women and children, “stranded” in the desert north of Niger, near the border with Libya, another transit point for illegal migrants to Europe.
In June, the organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) denounced the “inhumane treatment” inflicted on West African migrants seeking to reach Europe, of whom “about 2,000 on average” are turned back each month from Algeria and Libya to neighboring Niger.