News / Africa

Niger Destroys Migrants' Safe Houses, Asks for International Help

Migrants sit in the police commissioner's office after being arrested for attempting to bribe a police officer so they could pass a checkpoint without identification in Agadez, Niger, March 16, 2014.
Migrants sit in the police commissioner's office after being arrested for attempting to bribe a police officer so they could pass a checkpoint without identification in Agadez, Niger, March 16, 2014.
Reuters
Authorities in Niger have destroyed safe houses owned by human trafficking networks for sheltering illegal migrants and forcibly turned back anyone without a valid identity document in towns near its northern border, a government minister said on Thursday.
 
The government has promised to crack down on smuggling gangs ferrying people across the desert after 92 migrants died trying to make the same trip north to Algeria last year, many of them headed for Europe.
 
The start of the summer migration season has seen a dramatic rise in the number of illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Italy from the north coast of Africa. Many of these cross the Sahara desert via Niger to reach the Libyan coast, where they embark.
 
Justice Minister Amadou Marou asked foreign governments and organizations to help the poor Western African nation stem the rising flow of illegal migrants.
 
“As much as they are determined to leave, we are determined to stop them,” Marou told the representatives of organizations including the European Union, the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. Population Fund.
 
“We rely on your resources and expertise to help tackle this scourge,” Marou said, according to the ministry website.
 
Many people emigrate to flee Niger which, despite being a uranium producer and one of Africa's newest oil producers, is ranked by the United Nations as one of the world's poorest countries and faces food shortages due to perennial drought.
 
Marou's made his appeal days after officials said they had prevented more than 500 would-be migrants from trying to cross the Sahara into neighboring Algeria in the past four months.   Thirty nine people, including 29 women, have been detained on charges of human trafficking in the northern town of Arlit.
 
However, that is just a fraction of the total number of migrants crossing Niger, which sits at a crossroads of migrant routes linking North Africa to the rest of the continent.
 
A report by an internal government investigation accused some police officers of turning a blind eye to people smuggling and profiting from the trade via a system of charges and commissions on vehicles crossing the Sahara.
 
As of late May, some 43,000 people have crossed from North Africa to Italy so far this year, the same amount as in the whole of 2013, the Italian coastguard said. Some 60,000 people made the trip in 2011 when the Arab Spring revolutions loosened border controls, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid