Saharan nations are looking to use Algeria as a transit country towards Europe
Algeria, like Libya, is often a country seen by illegal migrants to work. Last month Algeria planned to grant residency and job permits to the migrants, in order to fill jobs in the farming and construction industries.
Some in the country worry migrants threaten Algeria’s security. There are sometimes clashes between Algerians and the migrants. Rumors that the migrants spread HIV also increase prejudice against them in Algerian society. The Algerian President’s Chief of Staff Ahmed Ouyahia said that migrants are the “sources of crime, drugs and other scourges.”
According to Benali Cherif, Algeria’s foreign affairs spokesperson the deportations were “part of a series of measures taken by the Algerian government to strengthen cooperation with sub-Saharan African countries, notably Niger and Mali, to curb the irregular migration flows facing our country.”
In June, 25 Syrian refugees were trapped in a desert area on the border between Morocco and Algeria. The Algerian authorities then said they would allow the Syrian refugees to reach Algeria.
Although there are no official figures on how many migrants there are in Algeria, some estimates put the figure at about 100,000 people in the country.