The African Union (AU) said on Friday that 12,708 African immigrants had been repatriated to their home countries from Libya from late November, 2017 to date.
AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira Mohammed, said this to journalists on the sidelines of the 30th AU Summit, underway from Jan. 22 to 29 at AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
According to the pan African bloc, the African migrants have been repatriated since the 5th AU-EU Summit held on Nov. 29 to Nov. 30, 2017 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Close to 4,000 migrants were repatriated by respective AU member-countries, while the remaining were brought home with the help of the International Organisation for Migrants (IOM), Mohammed said.
According to Mohammed, estimated 700,000 African migrants are currently in the troubled North African country, most of whom are legal migrants, who entered the country before the collapse of former leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2012.
The commissioner stressed that the complicated situation in Libya was creating havoc as some of the 54 detention centres that were operational in the country were not controlled by Libyan authorities.
According to Mohammed, some of the detention centres are controlled by armed militias and criminal groups.
She also revealed that the migrants, from 30 African member-states, were victims of smugglers, who had networks in almost all affected countries.
The EU has allocated 100 million euros to the repatriation process under the framework of a tripartite mechanism established by the AU, EU and IOM, Mohammed said.
African migrants reportedly faced slavery threats in Libya, where stranded African migrants were sold as slaves for as little as 400 dollars.