Since January several flows of emigrants expelled by Algerian authorities have been constantly arriving in the town of Assamaka.
Niger Interior Minister Hamadou Amadou Souley fears the emergence of a humanitarian crisis in Assamaka, a town where 7,172 sub-Saharan migrants expelled by Algeria are stranded.
“Since the beginning of 2023, the expulsions of citizens from Central Africa have acquired a critical dimension due to the limited availability of social services in the area. This strong concentration of emigrants has as a corollary a sharp increase in border crime,” he tweeted.
The Interior Minister called on the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to speed up the identification process of citizens who opt for the voluntary return program organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Amadou Souley also asked the IOM to review this program as it is one of the causes of the “avalanches of emigrants who go to Agadez with the sole objective of benefiting from socio-economic reintegration.”
The tweet reads, “In a few days, refugees and migrants were once again expelled from Algeria by official and unofficial convoys to Niger, near Assamaka. Among the people who arrived, there were 2 wounded who were evacuated by tricycle by our chambers to the local health center.”
Alkassoum Ibrahim, a member of the Canadian NGO International Emergency Aid Committee (CIUAD) – which operates in coordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – explained that the presence of migrants in Assamaka is due to “a lack of resources that IOM is currently facing.”
Since January several flows of emigrants expelled by Algeria have been constantly arriving in this town. The latest group to arrive included 710 migrants who have been in a situation of “extreme vulnerability” since they were expelled on April 23.
The local Nigerien authorities consider the arrival of the emigrants a threat to the security of the population of Assamaka, estimated at less than 3,000 inhabitants.
Migrants “kill stray animals and attack residents at night to steal their goods,” said Mahamadou Illa, a resident of Assamaka.
Faced with this situation, the Assamaka authorities established a night military patrol starting at 9:00 p.m. to guarantee the safety of the town.