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UN Migration Agency Assists 165 Migrants Home to Guinea Conakry
Guinea - On 4 May, the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) assisted 165 stranded migrants – 152 men and 13 women – to return home from Libya to Guinea (Conakry). The group included five unaccompanied children, one infant and one medical case.
The migrants were among the many Guineans currently living irregularly in Libya, often under harsh conditions, and who sought IOM’s assistance to voluntarily return to Guinea.
Of the passengers, 147 were detained at Trig al Seka detention centre, while 10 were at Abu Salim detention centre and the remaining eight were previously living in urban areas.
The charter flight departed Tripoli’s Mitiga airport and arrived in Guinea Conakry that same evening. Funds for the charter flight were provided by the Netherlands.
IOM conducted pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and facilitated exit visas for all passengers. Prior to departure, the migrants also received additional assistance in the form of dignity kits, comprising clothes and shoes.
Among the passengers was Mariam*, a 19-year-old woman, who explained that she had left Guinea, where she worked as a seamstress, almost a year ago. She arrived in Libya after a two-month journey through Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Niger, travelling with two friends, one of whom died in Libya. She does not know what happened to the other friend.
Mariam was abused by her employers in Libya. Following two failed attempts to reach Italy via the Mediterranean route, she decided to go back to Guinea to resume her career as a seamstress.
Another of the passengers was 20-year-old Amara* who was shot by smugglers off the Zuwara coast and suffered a leg injury.
Thirty-year-old Bamba* paid 3,000 euros to pass through the desert. On the way, he was kidnapped twice and was close to death at one point. Now he was looking forward to a new start in Guinea Conakry.
So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 3,089 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of these, 601 were eligible for reintegration assistance.
Last Thursday’s flight was the third chartered this year by the UN Migration Agency to take migrants home to Guinea from Libya; the first two carried 133 people. IOM also is helping Guinean migrants stranded in Niger, Morocco and Egypt.
The IOM Guinea team, the Guinean National Service of Humanitarian Affairs (SENAH), as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were present at the airport to provide support and assistance to the returning Guineans.
IOM staff interviewed the migrants as they arrived in Conakry to learn how they could help them with reintegration and work opportunities at home.
Returning migrants residing in Conakry returned directly to their homes, while those originating from different regions were accommodated for one night at the Matam Transit Centre, before heading to their final destinations with IOM support.
Eight of the most vulnerable migrants were also entitled to further reintegration support once back in Guinea Conakry. This assistance will provide the returnees with an opportunity to start afresh once home by, for example, opening a small business or continuing with their education.
*Migrants’ names have been altered to protect their privacy.
For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216 29 794 707, Email: email@example.com or Lucas Chandellier at IOM Guinea, Tel: +224 628 33 86 53, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org