Local authorities in Agadez, Niger, say that more than 800 people, including children, were expelled from Algeria – many of whom are from Niger.
“We have a total of 847 people including 40 women and 74 unaccompanied children. These people have already arrived in Agadez,” Agadez city officials told Agence France Press.
One of the largest cities in the north of the West African country, it was a hub for migrant traffic for nearly 10 years.
The children are already in the care of the services of the Ministry of Child Protection, according to the officials.
A humanitarian source said that Algerian authorities escorted them to the Algerian border, nearly 500 kilometres north of the city.
They will be able to receive medical care and basic necessities, according to the source.
Accusations of human dumping
Algeria has regularly been accused by non governmental organisations and Algerian groups of treating migrants brutally, including arrest and dumping them in the desert without food or water.
The north African country has regularly denied these accusations, calling them “malicious”.
🔴#Niger, #Agadez, From January to May 2022, @MSF recorded 14,196 migrants expelled from Algeria. Approx. 2000 migrants are expelled from #Algeria and #Libya every month, they are abandoned in the middle of the desert at the Algerian-Nigerien border.📸©Yarin Trotta del Vecchio pic.twitter.com/N8gUxME86n— Enass Abu-Khalaf-إيناس أبوخلف (@Enass_AbuKhalaf) June 2, 2022
Tens of thousands of irregular migrants from West and Central have been expelled from Algeria since 2014, according to United Nations statistics.
“I was with others (children) at the home of a lady to whom we paid every day what we earned begging. She told me that she sent this money to my mother every month,” said Sahabi, a child from Niger who was sent back to Agadez in June.
He was arrested by the police in Algiers, he told Unicef.
Although some migrants try to stay and live in Algeria, many are hoping to reach Europe, and use Algeria as a point to find transport across the Mediterranean Sea.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) statistics indicate that numbers of migrants expelled has gone up over the past three years: 23,171 in 2020, 27,208 in 2021 and 14,196 in the period from January to May 2022 alone.