The flow of African migrants into Algeria has returned to the fore, despite the difficult health crisis the country is facing with the Corona pandemic. The daily statements of the Algerian Ministry of Defense are not free of news regarding repeated arrests of Africans from the Sahel region, serious security unrests by individuals entering the Algerian territory through its southern borders.
After deportations launched by Algerian authorities to collectively return African migrants to their countries of origin, the cities of the north, east and even west are witnessing a large repeated influx of African migrants, where they have set up random camps, women and children need to beg in the streets, intersection of roads and in front of shops and major commercial centers, while men work on farms, fields, and some construction sites.
During the past two days, the Algerian defense and border authority announced the arrest of 30 illegal immigrants of different nationalities at the border region of Ain Salih and the city of Tlemcen (located in the northwest of Algeria). Prior to this operation, the Algerian army arrested dozens after crossing the border from Mali and Niger, witnessing a serious security risk for the country and, to a lesser extent, for Libya as well.
Observers expected that Algeria could face a massive displacement of Africans in the coming days, due to the bloody conflict in Libya and the political and security tensions in Mali and Niger, at a time when the latter faces difficult economic and social challenges due to the outbreak of the Corona epidemic.
The Algerian security expert Akram Khraif told MENA Study and Research Center that most of the illegal immigrants would be fleeing war and internal problems, in which their countries of origin flounder, in search of work and a better future for them and their families. It would, at the same time, mean a burden for Algeria due to the difficult health crisis it is going through. The Corona epidemic in Algeria took a worrying trend in recent weeks, where the rate of infections exceeded 600 cases per day.
The Algerian Minister of Interior Kamal Beljoud revealed during a meeting with interior ministers of a number of European Union countries last week that the incident of the influx of African migrants raises his country’s concern in its security and humanitarian dimension, as Algeria in 2018 faced harsh criticism, following its resumption announcement of migrants’ deportations, attributed this to the risks that the incident of clandestine immigration poses to the security and social stability in the country.
Beljoud affirmed Algeria’s readiness and its constant desire to strengthen cooperation and coordination with various partners with the aim of better controlling the flow of illegal immigrants according to a balanced perspective based on cooperation and solidarity, taking into account the relationship between the migration on the one hand and the development and security factors to face its repercussions on the region on the other hand.
Also, former MP Muhammad Hudaibi said in a statement to MENA Study and Research Center, that “the case of illegal immigrants will bring a great international embarrassment to Algeria at the current circumstance, given the difficulty of dealing with it and the limited options to solve it, although the door cannot be widely open for Africans due to the extraordinary difficult situation the country is going through.”
Muhammad Hudaibi believes that “this migration is not a usual one, but behind it groups it pays the immigrants and uses them to bring in money and transfer this money from charitable donations and fraud into criminal and terrorist groups that cross the countries”, which was confirmed by the Director of the Immigration Department in the Algerian Ministry of Interior, Hassan Qassimi Charges by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the government in 2018 for the forced and disrespectful displacement of human rights of a number of African migrants.
“There is also confirmed and accurate information by African organizations, indicating that children are sold in Niamey, Agadez, Asamaka and Arlit in Niger, bringing them to Algeria and exploiting them in inhumane conditions from eight in the morning until ten in the night”, he said.
According to the statements of former MP Muhammad Hudaibi, Algeria today is sitting between the chairs of the imperative in human interaction, solidarity with its African neighbors and the imperative of danger to the country’s political and social stability.