Some 669 returnees from Algeria, including two Nigeriens, and 667 West and Central African nationals arrived on foot on September 17 in Assamaka, the Nigerien town closest to the Algerian border, after being turned back from Algeria, local authorities said, quoted by media.
The migrants include 648 men, 14 women and 5 minors. The group includes 286 Malians, 166 Guineans, 37 Burkinabe, 27 Senegalese and 25 Beninese.
It also includes 22 Ivorians, 21 Gambians, 21 Sudanese, 19 Nigerians, 14 Cameroonians and 14 Sierra Leoneans. In addition, nationals from Chad, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Togo are among those turned back, according to the same sources.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has confirmed to the media the arrival of the wave of migrants turned back from Algeria, without specifying, however, the number.
“We are willing to provide assistance. Migrants who wish to join our assisted voluntary return program can be admitted to our transit center in Assamaka,” IOM said.
On September 6, some 847 migrants, mostly Nigeriens, including 40 women and 74 unaccompanied children, arrived in Agadez after being turned back from Algeria.
In early July, the IOM announced that it had rescued 50 West African migrants, including women and children, “stranded” in the desert north of Niger, near the border with Libya, another transit point for illegal migrants to Europe.
In June, the organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) denounced the “inhumane treatment” inflicted on West African migrants seeking to reach Europe, of whom “about 2,000” are “on average” turned back each month from Algeria and Libya to neighboring Niger.