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Algeria deports 3,200 sub-Saharan Africans in one month

African migrants who were arrested in Algeria while illegally attempting to get to Europe, leave the refugee camp located in the Zeralda region, suburb of the city of Algiers in northern Algeria after Algerian government has started the process of expelling thousands of migrants, on 28 June, 2018 [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]
African migrants, who were arrested in Algeria, leave a refugee camp located in the Zeralda region, suburb of the city of Algiers on 28 June 2018 [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]

Algeria has deported 3,231 sub-Saharan Africans in the space of one month as it continues its policy of abandoning people in the desert and forcing them to walk to Assamaka in Niger.

According to figures released by Alarme Phone Sahara, which works with a network of whistleblowers in the region, this figure includes 63 women, 82 girls and 77 boys.

The majority of the refugees were from Niger, Mali and Guinea Conkary.

Algeria has previously drawn widespread criticism for its policy of deporting migrants by sending them into the Sahara Desert and on to Niger.

Last summer the North African country came under fire from rights organisations after a secretly recorded video captured buses on the edge of the desert carrying migrants. Over 14 months Algeria had dumped over 13,000 people including pregnant women and children in the desert as temperatures hit 48 degrees.

It forced them to walk, sometimes at gunpoint, without giving them food or water.

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Refugees can be forced to walk the desert in the day, when temperatures soar particularly in the summer, or at night, when they struggle to find their way in the darkness.

Between December 2014 and November 2018 the Algerian interior ministry said it had deported up to 37,000 Nigeriens.

North African countries have cracked down on immigration in an attempt to stop sub-Saharan Africans reaching the Mediterranean after pressure from the European Union to stop them going on to Europe.

Algeria has also come under increasing pressure from Europe to build centres to house refugees so that they would not continue to travel to Europe.

In the past Algerian authorities have said that allegations they are dumping migrants in the desert is a “malicious campaign” and that the accusations were to “undermine the country’s image and its relations with its neighbours in the south.”

It also said the deportations had been done with “full respect for human dignity and rights.”

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