ALGERIA (OBSERVATORY) – Algeria expects more illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa after the European Union made it more difficult to reach the continent, a senior interior ministry official said on Thursday.
An EU-Turkey agreement in 2016 closed the sea route to the Greek islands, which was followed by nearly 1 million migrants in 2015. The departure from Libya, the latest major departure point, also fell thanks to the support of the Libyan Coast Guard. Italy also helps Tunisia prevent the departure of boats.
Hassan Ghassimi, immigration official at the Interior Ministry, said tens of thousands of illegal immigrants had arrived in Algeria, but hundreds of thousands could be spoken in the near future after Europe closed its doors.
He added that the solution is not to close the border on the one hand and leave the migrants dying on the other side, expressing Algeria’s concern about the growing number of illegal immigrants.
He said that his country, which has a 2,500-kilometer border with Mali and Niger, has spent $ 20 million over the past three years to counter the influx of illegal migrants from the Sahel to escape war, insecurity and poverty.
He said his country had not received assistance from anyone and was dealing with the situation from its own resources.
He also rejected accusations by rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, that migrants had been driven to death.
“We are not Nazis,” he said. “Migrants do not die in Algeria, but hundreds of them died at the gates of Europe.”