Sixty-four Burkinabe nationals repatriated from Tunisia, where they were fleeing violence targeting sub-Saharan Africans since a speech by President Kais Saied, arrived Wednesday in Ouagadougou aboard a plane chartered by the government of Burkina Faso, an AFP reporter noted.
The nationals were welcomed on arrival by members of the government and relatives who were moved and visibly relieved.
"We were able to bring a first contingent of 64 compatriots" who were in Tunisia, said the Minister Delegate for Regional Cooperation, Karamoko Jean Marie Traore, ensuring that it was "the responsibility of our government to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens.
He said that "other groups" would "eventually" return through the same mechanism.
"It hasn't been easy. We have suffered a lot. We lost our jobs and we were kicked out of our homes. We slept for 17 days at the Burkina embassy before being repatriated tonight," said one of them, Inoussa Guiebre, looking appeased.
"I spent 17 months in Tunisia where I worked at small jobs. I only ask for the support of the authorities to be able to work here in my country because the adventure is over," he added.
On February 21, President Saied said the presence in Tunisia of "hordes" of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa was a source of "violence and crime" and a "criminal enterprise" aimed at "changing the demographic composition" of the country.
Guinea organized the first flight to repatriate its nationals on March 1, followed by Mali and Côte d'Ivoire, which has received a total of 725 people since March 4, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Kacou Adom.