At least 1089 people deported between 12th and 14th of November 2020
After at least 6747 people were deported from Algeria to Niger between 31st of September and 27th of October 2020, the deportations continue during November 2020 with 445 people deported on the 12th and 644 on the 14th of November.
Unofficial deportations convoy on 12th of November 2020
According to Alarme Phone Sahara's whistleblowers, 445 people deported in an unofficial convoy arrived in Assamaka at the Algerian-Nigerian border on 12th of November 2020. As in other unofficial convoys, the victims of these extra-legal deportations are nationals from many different countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The largest groups are 119 citizens of Guinea Conakry, including 4 women, and 102 citizens of Mali, including two women and a minor boy. In addition, there were 60 Sierra Leoneans, 43 Senegalese, 37 Ivorians and 24 Burkinabè, as well as citizens from Liberia, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Mauritania, Benin, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia and Ethiopia.
Usually, people deported in unofficial convoys are left in the border area between Algeria and Niger in the middle of the desert and forced to walk 15 to 20 kilometers to the border post of Assamaka. With this practice, the Algerian security forces put the lives of the deported people in danger, risking them getting lost in the desert. Already in 2018, the state of Niger had asked Algeria to put an end to these deportations of non-Nigerian nationals, but to no avail. On the other hand, deportations in unofficial convoys continue on a large scale.
Most of those deported from Algeria to Niger end up in IOM camps in Agadez, where many remain stranded if there is neither the possibility of returning to their regions or countries of origin, nor the possibility of continuing their journey of migration.
Official deportation convoy on 14th of November 2020 - at least 144 minors among the deportees
On 14th of November 2020, the large number of 644 citizens of Niger arrived in Assamaka with an official deportation convoy according to the observation of Alarme Phone Sahara whistleblowers. Apart from 456 men and 44 adult women, there were also 69 underage girls and 75 underage boys among those deported. The large number of minors deported is disturbing in the context where, according to Human Rights Watch, children have been separated from their families and deported alone in recent weeks as part of the deportations from Algeria.
Alarme Phone Sahara - a concrete solidarity with expelled people
Faced with the situation of migrants and refugees who are deported and often remain trapped in camps and "ghettos" in Agadez in precarious conditions, Alarme Phone Sahara has initiated the project of a collective kitchen. This kitchen is organized once a week, each time for one of the different migrant and refugee communities currently in Agadez.
Testimonies of migrants who were deported
During the meeting in the collective kitchen, several people told how they had lived through the mass deportations from Algeria. On 14th of November, three Malian men shared their stories. They all reported that they were taken completely by surprise by the raids of the Algerian security forces, stripped of their personal belongings and deported in tortuous conditions. One of them recounts that he witnessed the death of a man from Niger who was deported in a convoy together with him:
Testimony of a Malian migrant (name unknown to the editors)
"(...) Me on the convoy where we were. So there was a man from Niger. He died on the road because we were on the desert road.(...)"
I salute all of Africa, the community, the leaders of Africa. Being a migrant is not easy. There are reasons that push us to search for something. So it's not because it's not sweet for us at home. In the world, nowhere is sweeter than in your place. It is because of the bad governance that has been done in Africa, and so we have taken the road to Algeria. In Algeria, too, we have seen all the suffering. Algeria, I don't talk about that.
Arrived in Algeria, leaving Algeria to arrive at the border of Assamaka. The suffering. Me on the convoy where we were. So there was a man from Niger. He died on the road because we were on the desert road. So there were no face protection cloths. So in my opinion, he caught too much dust. When we were in the vehicle, he often vomited blood. So we told it to, what do you call him, the driver. He did to us no matter what. So finally he [this man] lost his life.
When we arrived in Arlit, when we were received, they didn't give us any clothes. The blanket too, it was not a blanket. Simply like a curtain sheet. It was not a blanket. Well, where we are, we are in a moment of cool temperature, you see.
When we finally arrived in Agadez, God made us get to the APS association. So myself, it's thanks to APS that I got this [these clothes]. The clothes I had, when the gendarmes caught me, at that moment I was only wearing a sleeveless shirt. So it was with the sleeveless shirt that I crossed the desert to Niger.
Testimony of Mamadou Diallo from Mali
"(...) Algeria, they take us and take away all our belongings without giving us food, they come to throw us at the border of Niger. We will walk from Algeria to Niger on foot. (...)"
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi taallah wa barakatuh. Today I am a migrant who has been deported to Niger. I am of Malian nationality. My name is Mamadou Diallo. In fact, I'm here today, it's just to express what I lived from Algeria to Niger to make people in Africa understand what migrants suffer today. We migrants are leaving now for Algeria, it is not because Algeria is paradise or our country is hell. But we are just leaving to look for things to get done in our country.
But when we arrive in Algeria, we work, we don't steal. All the hard work in the construction site is done by us migrants. We move the heavy loads, others fall from balconies, others even have fences that massacre people there. In spite of all this, the little things that we earn in Algeria, the Algerians do not leave with us. They are always behind us to push us back to our countries. But the repression is not bad. If you take someone, at least you have to think that he too has spent money to come where he is. He didn't come by the wind. But if he comes to your place, with the work he has done to earn a little, you take it all away to make yourself rich or whatever, I don't know.
But everything you work for, they take the money, the phone, even the clothes. They took me in Algeria. I was even in the shower washing myself. They took me. Telephone, money, shoes, everything left behind me.
But today I thank Allah, because it is Allah who is the Almighty, that I met in Niger with an association called APS who gave us food today. They gave to us, we washed ourselves. We had a rest. We ate well. So I am making this testimony today to show our leaders what we experienced today outside the country.
Even if Algeria is doing this because we are black, we don't know if it is our leaders who gave the order to do this, we don't know. But in fact, our leaders just have to look for a solution to slow down this situation. Because there are many parents today who live in Mali and think that their children are behind the ocean, that they have already arrived in Europe, while their children are dead, have already died in the desert. From other people, they have not even found their bodies.
Algeria, they take us and take away all our belongings without giving us food, they come to throw us at the border of Niger. We will walk from Algeria to Niger on foot. All the sufferings that take place there, we are the ones who know. And everyone knows the desert. The child who never lived the desert, if they take you to throw you into the desert?
So, my word is right here today at APS for all the benefits they have given us and I also thank Allah for having met this association as well.
Testimony of a Malian migrant (name unknown to the editors)
"(...) They're going to ripp you off first. If you still neglect, they will beat you in addition to hurt you badly. (...)"
Concerning migration, how did they catch people (...). They said it's emigration. So how are we going to say emigration, for example emigration, what I understand by emigration is someone who doesn't work, someone who does nothing, who hits the road, who is going to try his chance. But what is happening in Algeria is for us migrants who are here. They will come to find you in your place of work.
You are well with your boss, you can work well and calmly. In the morning they will find you, what concerns them first, before you are taken, it is to take your belongings, what is with you. They're going to ripp you off first. If you still neglect, they will beat you in addition to hurt you badly. There are some of the people who are here, who have received these beatings, who are injured and who have stayed here, they are not well because of their beating.
In Arlit over there, there are some who are sick, they will make you pass quickly. Well, that makes us, the migrants, very bad. They will take your property, everything, the money, the fund, they'll release you, yes, they'll take you. They'll drop you off as if you were someone, even to animals, for me they don't do that. Even animals, I think they are in better conditions than that.
So in any case, it hurts me very much. Why does it hurt? I'll tell you what, leave my place, go back to your place. Take your belongings and leave. It's like this, we say, man is going to know the value of man. That hurts me. So here is my question: Why this?!
The Algerian state and its policy of persecution of migrants
The practice of raids and deportations from Algeria, which has been intensified in recent years, is accompanied by racist propaganda against seasonal workers from Niger and against people who depend on begging, and more generally against all migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan African countries.
The current wave of raids, arrests and deportations is a direct result of the "migration reform" and the creation of an inter-ministerial commission to fight "irregular migration", announced by Algerian Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud at a plenary session of parliament on 30th of September.
The "complementary measures" announced by the minister include joint police and gendarmerie roadblocks on border roads, the demolition of "anarchic dwellings" housing migrants, such as sheds or construction sites, the dismantling of migrant reception networks and the automatic confiscation of means of transport.
On the one hand, this kind of declaration of war against migrants in Algeria follows the Algerian authorities' interest in reducing the number of migrants and satisfying racism within the indigenous society. On the other hand, it is an opportunity for them to position themselves as guardians for the border regime of the European Union states. Although the Algerian state has so far refused to sign an official migration agreement with EU countries, its ruthless deportation policy will serve as an asset in the upcoming negotiations with European states on credits and economic cooperation in the face of the deep economic crisis.
In addition, cooperation already exists in the form of the delivery of large quantities of military and security goods for the Algerian army, police and gendarmerie, such as surveillance technology or Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
In the face of this ongoing drama:
- Alarme Phone Sahara calls for an immediate end to deportations and pushbacks of refugees and migrants from Algeria to Niger - no war on refugees and migrants!
- Alarme Phone Sahara calls for an end to acts of theft and violence by Algerian security forces against migrants and refugees!
- Alarme Phone Sahara demands to stop immediately separating children from their parents and to stop arresting and deporting children!
- Alarme Phone Sahara demands the cancellation of the deportation agreement between Algeria and Niger!
- Alarme Phone Sahara calls for an end to the delivery of military and security goods to the Algerian state!
- Alarme Phone Sahara calls for an end to the externalisation of European borders on African soil!
- Alarme Phone Sahara calls on the civil societies of the countries involved and concerned to resist deportations and pushbacks and to defend the lives, rights and freedom of movement of migrants and refugees!
- Alarme Phone Sahara also calls on the authorities and parliaments of the countries concerned, among others Mali and Guinea, to support their citizens and speak out against the mass deportations from Algeria to Niger.