Niger: in Agadez, strong return of migrant smuggling to Europe Niger: in Agadez, strong return of migrant smuggling to Europe

Niger: in Agadez, strong return of migrant smuggling to Europe

Niger: in Agadez, strong return of migrant smuggling to Europe

Since the cancellation of the decree banning the transport of migrants and any related activity in November 2023 by the ruling military junta, the public transport square in Agadez has once again been bustling with intense activity.

In this town in northern Niger, migrant smuggling has returned in force, with convoys leaving on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. Led by smugglers, migrants board small 4x4s or trucks heading to Libya or Algeria, the last steps before the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean to Europe.

Among them, Sadio Diallo, a Senegalese migrant, expresses his aspirations once in Europe: " My goal once I arrive in Europe is to join the French army, because I want to go to France. As I was a soldier in Senegal, I prefers to continue my service (in the army) once in Europe".

Since the reopening of Agadez, at least 5,000 migrants have already crossed the city towards Libya and Algeria, hoping to find a passage to Europe. However, the challenges are great. Chehu Azizou, coordinator of the Alarmephone Sahara project , reveals that each month, between three and five departures to Libya transport around 2,000 people. 

Compared to 2015, migrants now face greater obstacles crossing the borders of countries like Libya and Algeria, with increased risks of refoulement.

Alice Fereday, senior analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, highlights the growing dangers: "They (migrants) face many risks, risks of arrest and detention, risks of expulsion from Algeria , so there are still many factors that continue to hinder the movement of migrants to the north."

Since the start of the year, Alarmephone Sahara has already recorded at least 9,000 migrants pushed back from Algeria to Niger. Challenges persist, even as restrictions are lifted, highlighting the growing risks for those undertaking the journey to Europe from sub-Saharan Africa.

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