IOM Libya Helps 421 Stranded African Migrants Return Home
Libya - On 25 April, IOM, the UN Migration Agency helped 253 stranded Nigerian migrants – 148 women and 105 men – return home to Nigeria from Libya. The group included six children, five infants and two medical cases. Most of the migrants (235) had been detained in Trig al Seka and Abu Slim detention centres in Tripoli, with the remainder living in urban areas.
On 27 April, more migrants were assisted back home as 164 men and 4 women, including 20 unaccompanied migrant children returned to The Gambia with IOM support.
Both charter flights departed Tripoli’s Mitiga airport and were coordinated with the Libyan authorities, the Nigerian embassy and the Gambian Consulate, respectively. IOM colleagues in the countries of origin also helped upon arrival.
IOM also provided pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and facilitated exit visas for the passengers. Prior to departure the migrants also received further assistance including non-food item (NFI) kits and shoes.
Among the stranded Nigerian migrants were eight victims of trafficking, six unaccompanied children, a nine-month old baby and two medical cases, escorted by IOM’s medical team.
Forty-three of the most vulnerable cases on the Nigerian flight and 26 of the Gambian migrants were eligible for reintegration support once back home. This assistance will provide an opportunity for the migrants to start fresh by, for example, opening a small business or continuing with their education.
Wendy* had travelled to Libya to pursue her dream as a hairdresser. In Libya, she instead found work as a housekeeper but was victim of a horrendous fire that broke out in her employer’s house. Wendy, who suffered serious burns, returned home to Nigeria, with the help of an IOM medical escort.
The two charter flights are part of IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programme which was funded by the European Union, Kingdom of the Netherlands and the US Department of State.
So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 2,924 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of those, 588 were eligible for reintegration assistance.
*All migrant names have been changed to protect their identities.