Foreign

December 12, 2023

Libya sends illegal migrants home to Egypt and Nigeria

Libya sends illegal migrants home to Egypt and Nigeria

Libya on Tuesday repatriated nearly 1,000 migrants from Egypt and Nigeria who had been staying in the North African country illegally, officials and AFP journalists said.

The 664 Egyptians were to be taken by bus to the Emsaed border post with Egypt, nearly 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) east of Tripoli.

General Mohamad Bardaa, who heads the country’s anti-immigration body affiliated to the interior ministry, said 300 Nigerians were taken to the airport to be flown home.

Libya, plunged into chaos with the ouster and killing in 2011 of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, is now ruled by rival administrations in the west and east and has become a hub for illegal migration to Europe.

Migrants seeking to make the perilous sea crossing to Europe from north Africa often fall into the hands of trafficking gangs that extort them for money.

Thousands of people, mostly Egyptians, have also lived illegally in and around the Libyan capital for years, working in agriculture, business and construction.

In similar operations last month, 600 Egyptians were sent home on November 6 and 250 were repatriated to Niger and Chad on November 28.

According to International Organization for Migration figures, there were more than 700,000 migrants — mostly from Niger and Egypt — in Libya between May and June this year.