Algeria to deny entry to Arab migrants arriving from its southern border

Algerian security services patrol in the Sahara desert village of In-Salah, south Algeria, on December 22, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

The Algerian authorities have decided to refuse entry to any Arab migrants attempting to access its territory from the southern borders, citing the increased ‘jihadi risk‘, said an Algerian security source.

On Monday, the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) condemned the forced return of fifty migrants to Niger, amongst which Syrians, Yemenis and Palestinians, who entered Algeria in September through the Malian border. These migrants are in “absolute distress”, declared the LADDH.

According to the security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, given the sensitivity of the file, Algeria fears that Niger, is “becoming a migration route borrowed by the Syrian jihadists coming from Aleppo”. Algeria has therefore decided to decline access to “any Arab migrant transiting through Mali and Niger”, says our source.

“Particularly concerning, these Arab migrants in Niger and Mali appear to be escorted by armed militias. We are monitoring these movements with a lot of concern” stated the security source who added that “the Algerian army has been deployed to deal with any eventual threat”.

Over the past months, international NGOs have been particularly critical of the way the Algerian government has been confronting migration issues. Allegations mistreatment of migrants have emerged in the international press on numerous occasions.