AU to evacuate 15,000 Libya migrants




The African Union (AU) has agreed to evacuate some 15,000 African migrants in Libya before the end of year, the deputy chairman of the AU Commission, KwesiQuartey, has tweeted.
The repatriations would be voluntary, and would be done in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), he added.
At least 20,000 migrants are being held in government detention centres in Libya, MrQuartey said.
The move follows reports that migrants are being sold in slave markets in the North African state, sparking global outrage.
An urgent evacuation plan for migrants in Libyan detention camps was drawn at an AU-EU summit in Ivory Coast last week.
Libya has undergone years of instability since rebels toppled former leader Col Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Two main factions control the oil-rich nation: a UN- backed government and a group led by a self-styled general.
MrQuartey said the AU will work with member states to facilitate the evacuation and the “sustainable reintegration” of migrants into their communities:
2,778 Nigerians in Libya detention camps – FG
The federal government has stated that it had a record of 2,778 Nigerian migrants registered in “accessible” detention camps in Libya, ready for repatriation.
The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement signed by the spokesperson, Tiwatope Elias-Fatiile, yesterday, said the country’s embassy in Libya had been visiting detention camps to identify Nigerians for registration.
The ministry stated that those registered were issued Emergency Travel Certificates.
The ministry also explained that the embassy in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) repatriates 250 migrants weekly and had returned 3,000 of them so far.
“From the 2,778 registered Nigerians who are still in detention camps, another set of 250 Nigerian migrants will be arriving on Tuesday December 5, at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos at 7pm to be received by NEMA officials.
“The Embassy, in collaboration with the IOM repatriates 250 Nigerian migrants by flight to Lagos weekly – each flight can accommodate only 250 passengers. The repatriation is a continuous exercise and the Embassy routinely issues the requisite travel documents to the migrants.
“The Embassy will continue to engage the legitimate government in Libya and other stakeholders in addressing the plight of Nigerian migrants in that country,” the statement read in part.
The Ministry further stated that the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, had invited the Nigerian Embassy’s Head of Mission, Iliya Fachano, to Abuja for consultations.
“He is in Abuja already and during the period of the consultations; arrangements have been made for him to address press conferences on the issue. This would afford the Nigerian public the opportunity to hear from him directly.”
The ministry, however, advised intending Nigerian travellers to “avoid Libya at this period, because of the dangers they may encounter in the process of their journey.”
The ministry also urged citizens to reach the Nigerian Embassy in Libya for assistance through these emergency numbers: +218910144487, +218925099384 and +218917953365.
“The contact email addresses for the embassy and the ministries are: [email protected] and [email protected]
It stated that the embassy had received requests for intervention from some relations of the victims based in Nigeria through these contacts.
While condemning the slave market in Libya, the ministry said it would engage the UN, African Union, European Union and other stakeholders to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
“It violates the fundamental human rights of the victims and it is unacceptable to the civilised world.” (NAN)

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