from SAAD MUSE in Mogadishu, Somalia
MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) – SOME 150 Somali migrants, mostly boys, have been repatriated from Libya following several months of confinement in detention centres in the volatile North African country.
They are among 300 Somalis who are voluntary returning home after failed attempts to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.
Libyan authorities had rounded them up as they attempted the risky journey and later kept most of them held in government-run detention centres.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organised air transport for the migrants, who have since landed in the capital Mogadishu.
The International Office for Migration (IOM) provided the special chartered flight in collaboration with the Libyan and Somali governments and with funding from the European Union (EU).
Upon arrival, the returnees had their paperwork processed and were examined by doctors to ascertain their health condition.
Ali Said Faqi, Somalia’s Ambassador to the EU, retold the migrants harrowing experiences during treacherous journeys through Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan as well as detention in Libya.
“It is not only for the Somalis, but for all Africans who are there and I wish that this agony, this drama to end as soon as possible,” Faqi said.
Libya, which is experiencing civil war, remains a gateway for African migrants desperate for greener pastures in Europe.
Mark Lewis of the IOM Somalia Support Office said the agency would assist the returnees with vocational training, health, business support and psychosocial aid.
“We are trying to help them towards a sustainable reintegration,” Lewis said.
– CAJ News