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Niger: Agadez re-emerges as migration hub to europe

File photo from June 14, 2018: Nigeriens and third-country migrants heading to Libya from Agadez, Niger   -  
Copyright © africanews
Jerome Delay/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press


Agadez's public transport square has been bustling with arrivals and departures since the ruling military junta rescinded the decree banning the transport of migrants and all migrant-related activities in Niger in November 2023.

In the town located in northern Niger, migrant smuggling is back in full swing, with convoys of migrants leaving on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the week.

With the help of smugglers, migrants leave Agadez in small 4X4 cars or in lorries on their way to Libya or Algeria - Niger's neighbours - and the last stop before crossing the sea to Europe.

“My aim once I get to Europe is to join the French army, because I want to go to France, as I was a soldier in Senegal, I prefer that when I get to Europe to continue my service (in the army),” said Sadio Diallo, a Senegalese migrant.

Since the reopening of Agadez, at least 5,000 migrants have already passed through the city on their way to Libya and Algeria in the hope of crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

Chehu Azizou, the coordinator of Alarmephone Sahara Project, said there were around three to five departures from Agadez to Libya each month, with each departure carrying some 2,000 people.

However, unlike the large number of migrants who crossed from Niger to Libya in 2015, according to analysts, migrants will find it very difficult to cross the borders of countries such as Libya and Algeria, and will face much greater risks of refoulement than in 2015.

“They (migrants) face a lot of risks, risks of arrest and detention risks of expulsion from Algeria, so they're still a lot of factors that are continue to impede the movement of migrants further north,” explained Alice Fereday, Senior Analyst at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.

Since the beginning of the year, Alarmphone Sahara has already listed at least 9,000 migrants who have been turned back from Algeria to Niger.

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