Voluntary Returns from Niger to Migrants’ Country of Origin Resume After a Brief Hiatus

Niamey – After a temporary suspension following the political unrest in Niger on 26 July, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Niger resumed last week its assisted voluntary return operations. This effort has, thus far, successfully enabled 504 migrants, including 27 women and 23 children from Cameroun, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia to safely return to their countries of origin via charter flights.

These flights are the first of a series of eleven charter flights, scheduled to be completed by 31 October. They will facilitate the voluntary return of more than 1,100 migrants from Mali, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cameroon, The Gambia, Senegal to their respective countries of origin.

"These departures come at a critical juncture as IOM transit centres across Niger are currently operating beyond their capacity, especially in the Agadez region where the centres surpass their capacity by 32 per cent,” says Idrissa Sompare, IOM Programme Manager for the Protection and Assistance of Migrants in Niger. “With these departures, IOM aims to alleviate the congestion in the transit centres and assist some of the more than 2,500 migrants who are eagerly awaiting vital support in these facilities," he adds.

Currently, IOM is hosting approximately 5,000 migrants in its seven transit centres located along migration routes in Niger, in the Agadez and Niamey regions. Recently, there has been a surge in the arrival of international migrants, with over 2,800 new arrivals documented in the remote Assamaka village, near the Algeria-Niger border. As of 13 October, over 1,700 migrants were on IOM's waiting list for the transit centres in Niger, including around 1,120 migrants in Assamaka, albeit with minimal support from other humanitarian actors.

The assisted voluntary return of the migrants is made possible with support from the EU-funded Migrant Protection, Return and Reintegration Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy as part of the AVENIR III project titled "Assistance to Vulnerable and Exposed Migrants in Niger – Phase III."

For more information, please contact Aissatou Sy,, Tel: +227 80 06 65 31

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