May 30, 2023

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The flow of sub-Saharan exiles into Niger is in full swing

The Algerian government is once again intensifying its crackdown and systematic repression against sub-Saharan migrants. An unprecedented mass deportation from Algeria is creating a humanitarian emergency in Niger. Since mid-March, nearly 2,000 sub-Saharan migrants have been expelled from Algeria to Niger in three successive waves.

Algerian authorities, regardless of their nationality, often stationed at night in the middle of the desert at “Point-Zero”, marking the border between the two countries. Between January and the end of March 2023, Algerian authorities reportedly abandoned more than 10,000 people in a series of harsh mass deportations in the desert near the border with neighboring Niger. Site « Alarm Phone Sahara ».

It should be remembered that Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa, on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. It is bordered by Libya and Algeria to the north, Benin and Nigeria to the south, Burkina Faso to the southeast, Mali to the west and Chad to the east. It lies on the border between the Sahara and sub-Saharan regions, and 4/5 of its land area is arid deserts.

The country’s inability to effectively control its border with Algeria means a constant flow of rejected migrants. Niger is a transit country for clandestine migration in search of Eldorado, which is considered the last African stage before the Old Continent through the North and the Maghreb.

In short, thousands of sub-Saharan Africans, once expelled from Algeria, had to walk about fifteen kilometers to reach the village of Assamaga in the Agadez region of northwestern Niger. It takes at least ten hours to reach one of the three congested transport hubs of Assamaga on the Assamaga – Arlit – Agadez axis. They wait in Assamaka for weeks or even months before being sent back to their home country by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which runs the camps.

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« Mass deportations of sub-Saharan migrants from Algeria to Niger are underway. “, tweeted” Alarm phone Sahara », the Sahel-Sahara site active in helping exiles in distress in the desert. ” Two visits with 1,277 people in the last few days!!! Spectacular visit on March 24, 2023 at 8 p.m.“Alarm phone Tweeted Sahara on his Twitter account.

“Between January 11 and March 3, 2023, 4,677 people in displaced situations arrived on foot in Assamaga,” MSF added.“Less than 15% of them were able to benefit from shelter or protection upon arrival”.

Alarm Phone Sahara also reported that sub-Saharan and other displaced people include women and children. Yet according to the same source, the migrants are from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, as well as Middle Eastern Arabs from Syria and Yemen.

Before deporting them, the police will strip them of all their belongings, including phones and cash, not to mention ANP. Tens of thousands of sub-Saharan migrants have been expelled en masse from Algeria to Niger in recent years. In 2015 there were more than 100,000 migrants in Algeria. Unfortunately, the military regime in Algiers, which claims to support friendly relations between peoples, has never recognized these evacuations.

In mid-March, Médecins sans frontières (MSF), a French NGO based in Assamaga, condemned the attack in a press release.“I give up”Thousands of migrants expelled by Algeria“Unprecedented Situation”,MSF later described it as complaining that it was unable to care for many “Without access to shelter, health, safety and basic needs”.

Every year thousands of migrants die crossing the Sahara and are often buried in informal or ordinary cemeteries. But this is where the implicit rules lie, with thousands of deaths, disappearances, and sometimes the very lucky (after days without water or food) crossing the Sahara desert since 2015.

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According to the IOM, more than 5,000 people have died and more than 2,000 have been rescued in the Niger desert since 2015, when the Nigerian government ‘enacted the infamous law 2015-036 at the instigation of the European Union. It is a frame covering towns, villages, transit points and major arteries leading to Agadez. They are routes of escape and migration.

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 a relatively wealthy country by sub-Saharan migrants and a transit point to Europe. Some of them try to survive in Algeria by begging or working in the construction industry or in the informal sector.