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Migrants protest extended quarantine in Niger  

Hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants stranded in Niger have taken to the streets to protest their extended quarantine in a migrant camp, according to France 24. These migrants have been in lockdown for more than three weeks. They were deported from Algeria and ended up in the Niger border town of Arlit from which they are expected to be repatriated to their home countries.

“We stayed in Arlit for 15 days. But at the end of the quarantine period, no one came to see us. We waited another day and, still, no one came. So we decided to demand talks with the IOM. No one provided us with soap and towels. Lots of people who came from Algeria with me were deported in their work clothes, which, in many cases, were dirty, ripped or covered with paint or cement,” said Rafa, one of the migrants.

The protest led to the looting of an IOM-run shop filled with sanitary supplies. At least thirteen protesters were arrested by the police. The extended lockdown of migrants is attributed to the border closure policy of many countries as a means of curtailing the spread of the coronavirus. However, the migrants, mostly from Nigeria, Mali, Benin and Guinea, said the camp has become unbearable with poor communication, health and sanitary facilities.

Thousands of Africans migrants are stranded in Niger in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. More than 250 migrants were abandoned by traffickers at the Libya-Niger border before being rescued by the IOM, earlier in the month.

TMP_04/05/2020

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Torsten Pursche

Photo caption: A small village near Niamey, Niger’s capital.