“The road is really blocked”: Travel restrictions cause major challenges for irregular migrants
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the related restrictions on movement, many Africans are continuing to attempt to migrate irregularly to Europe along the Niger route. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pass through Niger undetected due to increased security measures and border closure plans.
Idrissa, a former people smuggler, told AFP that it had become much more difficult for migrants to successfully pass through Niger: “Before we could cross little by little but because of the anti-coronavirus measures, the road is really blocked.”
Nonetheless, migrants are still heading to border communities along the border of Niger and Libya, congregating in places such as Madama and Dirkou. On their journeys, it is difficult for irregular migrants to maintain preventative measures, like thorough hand-washing and social distancing, making them at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Photo credit: ID:1684654351
Photo caption: Niger – September 2013: Governmental military guard in North Africa Cars with armed soldiers desert border Libya Niger