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10 May 2018

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Migrants in Agadez, Niger after returning from Algeria. Photo: IOM/Monica Chiriac

What I Have Seen at the Algeria-Niger Border

By Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Chief of Mission in Niger

Niger (IOM) - Since 2017, my mission, IOM Niger, has been drawing attention to the thousands of migrants who reach the Algeria-Niger border, after having been abandoned by traffickers in the Sahara Desert. Migrants reach the border at Assamaka, a small village on Niger territory now the most used entry and exit point between Algeria and Niger.

Just over the past four months we’ve rescued and assisted about 3,000 migrants from all nationalities in West Africa. Most commonly the victims are from Mali, Guinea Conakry and Cameroon.

We notice three common scenarios:

1. Migrants are stopped by the police in Algeria while attempting to enter the country.
2. Migrants are expelled from Algeria after having been detected on construction sites or at other jobs where migrants toil, at times for several years.
3. Migrants coming back from Libya via Algeria to Niger.

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