Addis Ababa, Jan 29 (AFP) More than 13,000 migrants have been repatriated from Libya since the beginning of December, the African Union’s chief said today, nearly two months after reports emerged showing refugees being sold as slaves. Also Read - Donald Trump Suspends All Travel Between the US and Europe for 30 Days Over Coronavirus, UK Exempted
That number is short of the AU’s goal to fly 20,000 out of the conflict-wracked north African nation by mid-January, but chairperson of the AU commission Moussa Faki Mahamat insisted the campaign was on course. Also Read - COVID-19: Vietnam Halts Visa-free Travel For Britain, 7 European Union Countries
“We have 13,000, and every day, the number increases,” Faki told a press conference after the closing of an AU summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Also Read - EAM S Jaishankar Attends EU Foreign Ministers Meet in Brussels, Defends Citizenship Act
“I believe that this process is on course, although with a bit of delay. Already more than two thirds… have been repatriated,” he added.
Faki announced the repatriations after media reports emerged in November showing black Africans being sold as slaves in Libya, which has no central government.
The country collapsed into violent chaos after the 2011 revolt that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with a myriad of militias and several jihadist groups battling for influence.
Libya has long been a transit hub for migrants seeking a better life in Europe, but people smugglers have stepped up their lucrative business since the revolution.
Together with the United Nations and European Union, the AU is ferrying the migrants out of Libya on flights organised by individual African countries, Faki said.
Many of those who were repatriated are refugees, Faki added.
Those who cannot go back to their home countries have been offered refuge by Niger and Rwanda. (AFP) UZM
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.