Niger evacuates 500 of its nationals from Libya

2017-12-07 18:00
Protestors attend a demonstration against slavery in Libya, at Sergels torg in Stockholm, Sweden, on November 25, 2017. (AFP)

Protestors attend a demonstration against slavery in Libya, at Sergels torg in Stockholm, Sweden, on November 25, 2017. (AFP)

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

Niamey - Niger has flown home more than 500 of its citizens from Libya as part of an urgent repatriation plan which will see up to 4 000 people evacuated, the foreign ministry has said.

The move follows global shock over the atrocities suffered in Libya by African migrants, many of whom are trying to reach Europe, which was brought home by a CNN report showing people being sold as slaves.

Pressure has since grown on individual states and the African Union to get them out, with the AU this week pledging to repatriate 20 000 Africans within the next six weeks.

"This evening, 504 of our fellow countrymen who were living in Libya have been brought back home," said Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yacoubou who met them as they arrived at Niamey airport on Wednesday evening.

"There are thousands of others who are still in Libya and we will bring back everyone who wants to leave," he said.

Interior Minister Bazoum Mohamed said buses had been chartered to ferry them back to their villages.

Among those brought back home there was a tangible sense of relief.

"I feel so relieved to have left that hell back there. Even though it was anarchy in Libya, we didn't know that migrants were being sold, although ransom demands are rife," said one of those who landed on Wednesday, who looked exhausted and did not give his name.

Some 4 000 Niger nationals have already signed up to be brought home, the foreign ministry said, saying they would be brought back in a "rolling airlift".

 250 000 since 2011 

It is not the first time that Niamey has repatriated its nationals stranded in neighbouring Libya.

Since the Gaddafi regime collapsed in 2011, Libya has fallen under the control of a network of armed groups and militias; the violence and anarchy contributing to the push by many migrants, some of whom have been there for years, to try and make the perilous sea crossing to Europe.

Over the past six years, around 250 000 people have returned home to Niger, fleeing the violence in Libya.

At the end of November, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou called on the International Criminal Court to take up the case of African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya.

Agadez, the main city in central Niger, has become a revolving door for economic migrants seeking to reach Europe via Libya, winning notoriety as Africa's people-smuggling capital.

Despite a government crackdown and increased security checks at the borders, aided by the EU, there is still a steady flow of migrants and traffickers passing through Niger.

Read more on:    au  |  libya  |  niger  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content this holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.