Algeria heads on with inhuman expulsion of Sub-Saharan migrants

Algeria heads on with inhuman expulsion of Sub-Saharan migrants

Algeria has flashed out in recent days close to 900 sub-Saharan migrants as the country closes ears to criticism of its inhuman expulsion of Africans abandoned, unattended in the desert at the border with Niger.

Exactly 899 migrants from 16 southern Saharan countries were deported by Algerian authorities on February 12, said Alarm Phone Sahara, a non-governmental organization helping migrants in distress or experiencing a pushback to raise their voice.

The migrants were carried in dozens of buses and dumped at Assamaka, the border town between the two countries.

The migrants who were illegal on the Algerian territory stem from Guinea, Benin, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and also Costa Rica. In addition to the new arrivals, that brings the number of migrants deported to 2298 in three days, Feb. 10, 12 and 14.

The deported are first arrested and hauled in prisons in inhuman conditions slammed by several NGOs that argue that Algerian authorities totally ignore basic human rights and even rights for asylum.

The migrants dumped in Assamaka, a town in the limitless Sahara desert, find themselves unattended without water, blanket to cover themselves against the cold at night in the desert.

“We walked from 5 to 8 am. At that time, we met a truck and the driver told us that we were not in the right direction to go to Assamaka. We made a detour and arrived in this city at 12:00. We were exhausted. The journey was difficult. Sometimes, people fell down, but we picked them up, and we motivated ourselves to keep walking. To stop, it meant to be abandoned in the desert,” a teenager aged 15 from Guinea told Alarm Phone Sahara.

The migrants arrive at Assamaka where a humanitarian crisis already exists, Alarm Phone Sahara notes. Before the three waves of deportation this week, the NGO says there were already more than 1,000 people out there without shelter, blankets or mats, exposed to all sorts of dangers, lack of food and lack of water.

Algeria has reached deportation deals with Mali and Niger but the agreements have been condemned by international as well as local Algerian NGOs that demand the arrangements be nullified.

Domestic NGOs in Algeria speaking out against the deportations are targeted by the state. Authorities recently dismantled Ligue algérienne de défense des droits de l’Homme [The Algerian League of Human Rights Defense] (LADDH).

The deportation of African migrants to Niger’s borders has begun since 2014. According to Doctors Without Borders, 23,171 migrants were expelled in 2020.  Since the beginning of this year, 4,395 people have already been deported, Alarm Phone Sahara also notes.

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