At least 600 migrants, including 14 women and 5 minors, nationals of a dozen sub-Saharan countries have arrived in northern Niger after being turned back from Algeria, the authorities in Niamey told AFP. The information was later confirmed by the World Organization of Migration, which gave no figures.
They traveled several dozen kilometers on foot before arriving on September 17 in Assamaka, the Nigerian town closest to the Algerian border. Refused from Algeria, these migrants are six hundred and sixty-nine people including fourteen women and five minors. According to local authorities, there are 286 Malians, 166 Guineans, 37 Burkinabe, 27 Senegalese, 25 Beninese, 22 Ivorians, 21 Gambians, 21 Sudanese, 19 Nigerians, 14 Cameroonians and 14 Sierra Leoneans, as well as two Nigerians and nationals of Chad, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Togo.
Although the World Organization of Migration has confirmed “the arrival of this wave of migrants“, unfortunately it has not specified their number.
« We are willing to assist them. Migrants who wish to join our assisted voluntary return program can be admitted at our transit center in Assamaka », reassured the leaders of this humanitarian NGO.
Two large waves of migrants recorded in the same month
On September 6, 847 migrants, mostly Nigeriens, including 40 women and 74 unaccompanied children, arrived in Agadez after being sent back from Algeria, the municipality of this large city in northern Niger told AFP. 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 border with Libya.
Migrants, victims of inhuman treatment
The organization Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) denounced in June the “inhumane treatment“ inflicted on West African migrants seeking to reach Europe. On average, 2,000 are turned back each month from Algeria and Libya to neighboring Niger.
These accusations are often denied by Algeria, which denounces a “malicious campaign”, even though the country has no legislation on asylum.