Over 159 Mali nationals deported home from Libyan by IOM

Mali refugees prepare to return home after escaping Libya’s jail treatment.

Dozens of Malian migrants kept locked up in Libyan jails after failing to make it onto boats bound for Europe have arrived home, with some reporting maltreatment by authorities in the unstable north African nation, AFP reported.

The group of 159 Malians including several children arrived in Bamako on Thursday night on a flight chartered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

Around 40 were detained in Libya’s notoriously grim jails for living in the country illegally, according to regional civil protection director Bakary Daou, and had requested deportation.

“Given the difficulties that they encountered in Libya, they accepted coming back to the country voluntarily,” Daou told AFP.

The government would work with the IOM to ensure they were safely returned to their loved ones, Daou added.

Racist attacks and maltreatment were the norm, the returnees said, confirming they were attempting to reach Europe through the well-trodden smuggling route taken by many west Africans through Niger and Libya.

AFP saw at least three unaccompanied minors and several clearly unwell people among the group.

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