By Jamal Adel
Tripoli, 10 September 2014:
Officials in Ghadames are predicting a disaster unless they can get help with illegal immigrants. In . . .[restrict]the last eight months, this desert town of some 10,000 inhabitants has had to deal with more than 3,000 illegal immigrants coming across the border with Algeria.
A senior immigration officer in the largely Tuareg town has accused the Algerians of being responsible for the influx. “The Algerian authorities signed an agreement with the Malian counterpart for the African illegal immigrants come to Libya via Algeria” Major Mohammed Al-Mowafak told the Libya Herald. He added that it was noticeable that while the majority of the illegals tended to be sub-Saharan Africans there were also now Syrians among the arrivals.
A major concern is the health of the illegals, especially in the light of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Mowafak said that in July when his men deported 600 immigrants back to Algeria 112 of them were suffering from liver disease.
Attempts to screen the illegals are frustrated by limited facilities. Nor are all the new arrivals quickly detained. Officials are concerned that some of the immigrants are caught up in exploitation.
Mowafak complained that there was no official immigration office, nor had the government had provided vehicles. He said that all the work of collecting and deporting the illegal immigrants is being done by civilians on a voluntary basis.
Bashir Shihab, a member of the local council appealed for state intervention to cope with the flow of new arrivals, which he described as “awesome and alarming”.