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Algeria Deports Nearly 3000 Illegal Immigrant Africans in the Sahara Desert in the last 10 Days



Algerian authorities deported 2,852 migrants between February 23 and March 5. The exiles were abandoned in the middle of the desert, several kilometers from the Nigerien border, without water or food. Among them are women and children.


They were abandoned in the middle of the desert, under a blazing sun, without water or food. In just 10 days, 2,852 people from sub-Saharan Africa were deported from Algeria to the Niger border. According to Alarme Phone Sahara, which helps exiles in the region, 993 migrants were sent back on February 23, 1,180 on March 3 and 679 on March 5. Among them were women and children. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), joined by InfoMigrants, was unable to confirm these figures.


These operations are soberly called “deportations to the border” by the Algerian authorities. Arrested in different cities in northern Algeria, in their apartment, their work or in the street, the migrants are then piled into trucks and then deported to the refoulement center of Tamanrasset, 1,900 kilometers by road south of Algeria. Alger. There, many claim to be robbed of their belongings by the police: cash, jewelry, cell phones, passports…


Then, the exiles are abandoned in the desert, at a place called Point-Zéro , which marks the border with Niger, in the middle of the Sahara.


Migrants ‘receive neither food nor a place to sleep’


Left to their own devices, the exiles had to walk for hours to reach the first village in Niger, Assamaka, 15km from Point-Zéro. This is where the transit center of the IOM, the arm of the UN that assists the voluntary returns of migrants to their country of origin, is located.


“They [the Algerian authorities, editor’s note] abandoned us in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night. It was around 3 a.m. when we started walking towards the twinkling lights. I was carrying my daughter Maryam, my wife was carrying Aminata, and a brother was carrying my luggage,” told InfoMigrants last November. Burlaye, a 25-year-old Malian father who worked as a baker in Algeria before his deportation,


He and his relatives could not be welcomed into the camp of the UN agency, which was full that day. Burlaye, his wife and children spent several nights outside.


This is also the case for migrants sent back by Algeria in recent weeks. According to Alarme Phone Sahara, many of them had to stay outside, for lack of places in the center of the IOM. They “receive neither food nor a place to sleep. They are forced to live on the streets,” the organization said on March 10 on its Twitter page.


“Abandonment” of thousands of migrants


In a press release published Thursday, March 16, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) denounced the “abandonment” of thousands of migrants present in Assamaka. The medical NGO even speaks of an “unprecedented situation”.


The Integrated Health Center (CSI) in Assamaka, in which MSF “distributes non-food items” and offers “free health consultations”, is “overwhelmed”. “The majority of people recently arrived settled in the CSI compound, due to the lack of space in the transit center,” said MSF coordinator in Agadez, Schemssa Kimana, quoted in the press release.


MSF adds that people “seek shelter from the heat” which can “reach 48°C” in Assamaka, even sleeping in “makeshift tents”, “in front of the maternity ward, on the roof or in the area of waste”. In “unhygienic” places, these people are exposed “to health risks such as contagious diseases and skin infections”, indicates the NGO.


Expulsions carried out by the Algerian authorities are frequent in the region. Already on February 12, 899 people had been sent back to the Niger border, under the same conditions. According to figures from MSF, between January 11 and March 3, 2023, nearly 5,000 migrants suffered the same fate. And for some, the outcome can be fatal. Many exiles, left to their own devices in the desert, without a map or means of location, get lost and wander for several days in search of a village. In 2020 and 2021, 38 bodies were found in the area, a few kilometers from Assamaka.




 Source: EU Times

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