Equatorial Guinea launches purge against illegal migrants “ahead of November 20 elections”
Equatorial Guinea authorities have launched a nationwide campaign to expel illegal migrants ahead of November 20 general elections, Anadolu news agency has learned.
“In accordance with the directives of the government” of Equatorial Guinea, “the security forces (…) have launched since October 20, vast operations of control and expulsion of foreigners in irregular situation,” Toundi Richard, Consul of Cameroon in Malabo to his countrymen in a statement seen by the Turkish news agency.
“On Monday, 52 Cameroonians voluntarily left Bata in Equatorial Guinea and landed at Douala International Airport. They were welcomed by the authorities of the city,” Governor of the Littoral region, Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua told the agency.
One of the returnees from Malabo, Timbang Nestor, indicated that they preferred to return to Cameroon than to live the ordeal in Guinea. “For several days now, the police have been hunting down foreigners in this country. This has always been the case, even if this time Malabo makes us understand that it is because of the elections scheduled for November 20”, he stressed.
Guinea authorities reportedly last week decided to close borders from October 31st until after Nov. 20 general elections in view of ensuring that the electoral process goes on smoothly.
“The country will hold presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections in mid-November, and this decision to close the borders, which will be reopened after the electoral confrontations, is taken to ensure the security of all candidates until voting day,” the country’s broadcasting corporation RTVGE said in a statement.
London-based human rights organization Amnesty International in April indicated that Guinea authorities launched a nationwide campaign last year to flash out illegal migrants. The campaign, the organization said took place between October 31 and early December and targeted cities such as Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebibeyin.
Over 5,000 people mainly from Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Chad, Central African Republic, were detained over lack of stay permit. The arrestees according to the rights group also indicated they were victims of maltreatment and beatings.