World Bulletin/News Desk
Algeria's Red Crescent had started putting in shelters African migrants, especially those coming from neighboring Niger, living illegally in Algeria in preparation for repatriating them, the aid agency said Saturday.
"The Algerian Red Crescent started congregating the migrants, particularly in the eastern provinces of Bejaia and Tizi Ouzou," Red Crescent chief Saida Benhabyles said.
She added in a press conference in the Algerian capital that African migrants living illegally in Algiers would also be congregated next week in preparation for repatriation.
Benhabyles noted that the migrants would be airlifted to the southern province of Tamanrasset before they are asked to cross the border back into their country.
The Red Crescent chief added that most of the migrants from Niger had arrived in Algeria because of conflict and poverty back home.
Some official reports had earlier estimated the number of African migrants in Algeria to be at 25,000.
During a meeting with Niger's Interior Minister Massoudou Hassoumi in early September, Algerian Interior Minister Tayeb Belaiz said that his country would take measures to ease the return of Niger's nationals living in Algeria.
A large number of Africans can be seen on the streets of the Algerian capital. Most of them spend their time begging in public parks and outside mosques.
Algeria has been a main destination for a large number of refugees, especially from Niger, Mali and Chad, because of conflicts and poverty in these countries.
Algerian newspapers have focused of late on Algerians' fears from health risks entailed in the presence of this large number of African refugees in their country, especially after the emergence of the deadly Ebola virus.
Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in West African countries Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.
Last Mod: 22 Kasım 2014, 17:22