Hundreds of West African migrants return home from Libya

2017-12-08 19:30
Returnee migrant Unity brought home from Libya sits to reunite with family members in Benin, capital of Edo State in midwest Nigeria. (File: AFP)

Returnee migrant Unity brought home from Libya sits to reunite with family members in Benin, capital of Edo State in midwest Nigeria. (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - Hundreds of West African migrants who had been stranded in Libya are returning home as worried governments repatriate them amid outrage over slave auctions.

Another 164 migrants returned to Nigeria early on Friday, the latest group to be repatriated with help from the European Union and the International Organisation for Migration.

The first 504 migrants from neighbouring Niger, including children, returned home on Wednesday, part of an expected mass voluntary evacuation of 3 850 over the coming days, the UN migration agency said.

The African Union aims to return 20 000 migrants from Libya over the next six weeks after international condemnation of slave auctions in Libya revealed by recent CNN footage. Between 400 000 and 700 000 migrants are thought to be in more than 40 detention camps across the chaotic north African country, often under inhumane conditions, the AU Commission chairperson has said.

Europe has struggled to stem the flow of tens of thousands of Africans making the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean. But many Africans still make the journey, risking death and abuse, saying pressure that include high unemployment and climate change leave them little choice.

African and European leaders last week drew up an emergency evacuation plan for migrants, agreeing to airlift at least 3 800 stranded in detention centers across Libya.

Several West African nations including Gambia, Cameroon and Ivory Coast have begun bringing their citizens home.

A flight with 167 migrants, including seven children, returned to Guinea on Thursday, the UN migration agency said. Some of them reported beatings while in detention centers in Libya.

"I spent three months in prison. I do not know the name because we never went out, only for beating sessions because I did not have money," one of the migrants told the UN agency. "I have a lot of pain in my upper body."

Organisations including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders have criticised Europe, saying its primary aim is to close the often deadly smuggling route across the Mediterranean and leave hundreds of thousands of migrants trapped in Libya and at risk of horrific abuses.

Read more on:    un  |  amnesty international  |  msf  |  guinea  |  niger  |  nigeria  |  cameroon  |  ivory coast  |  gambia  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.