According to the Alarme Phone Sahara whistleblower from Assamakka, people pushed back from Algeria arrived at Point Zero at the border of Niger Republic during the night from 1st to 2nd of May 2019. The group consisted of women, men and children. The people left walking on foot over the distance of more than 15km from Point Zero to Assamakka, the place of the Niger border post. The crossing of the border took place after 1am local time.
It is very worrying to have learned that some of the group got separated from the rest of their fellow people during the walk, risking to get lost in the desert. According to latest reports, it was not clear yet where these people actually are. It was said that the IOM had sent vehicules to search for people who got lost between Point Zero and Assamakka. The APS whistleblower had also set off to search for the people, disposing only very limited capacities using a motorbike.
Between 1st and 2nd of May 2019, the APS focal point at Assamakka counted the arrival of 336 persons pushed back from Algeria. Among them, there were 7 bangladeshi persons. According to latest observations, bangladeshi persons, who are no ECOWAS citizens, are rejected by the authorities of Niger Republic and automatically sent back to Point Zero located on Algerian territory.
Alarme Phone Sahara strongly condemns the massive and merciless pushbacks of migrants and refugees from Algeria to Niger Republic and also the EU countries' policies of closing borders which encourages such human rights violations.
Alarme Phone Sahara calls upon the Algerian authorities to stop immediately the practice of abandoning people at Point Zero in the midst of the desert, putting their lives at stake.
Alarme Phone Sahara calls upon all the authorities in charge in the border region between Niger Republic and Algeria and also all international organisations like IOM to do anything possible to search and rescue people who have got lost in the border zone and not to let them die in the desert.
Concerning the latest cases of bangladeshi persons pushed back from Algeria and sent back again from Niger Republic, Alarme Phone Sahara calls upon the authorities in Algeria as well as in Niger Republic to stop playing ping pong with refugees' and migrants' lives and to give them access to a place where they can stay in safe conditions.