Tripoli, 17 July:
Over 300 Nigerians stranded in Libya have just been repatriated. The 326 Nigerians, including a dozen children, were flown . . .[restrict]into Lagos in two groups, in an evacuation mounted by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), a Nigerian disaster management organisation, released a statement saying: “At the weekend, 326 stranded Nigerians were evacuated to the country from Libya through the effort of the IOM “
Reportedly officials at Lagos International Airport were told by some of the evacuees that they had been imprisoned or tortured. No clarification has been given about what they were doing in Libya, nor it is clear whether they left voluntarily or were deported.
Evacuation of Nigerians from Libya began in February 2011, when African migrants were caught up in the revolution. Libya has long offered employment prospects for many sub-Saharan counties. To date over 4,000 Nigerians have returned from Libya, 500 of whom have made the journey by bus across the desert.
A report published by the IOM said that many sub-Saharan migrants found themselves in “a precarious situation” during the Revolution. “Some were accused of being mercenaries recruited to fight under Colonel Qaddafi and became the subject of harassment and threats.” The exodus began shortly after the start of the revolution and many workers left without pay. [/restrict]