Algeria expels 260 Malians; police accused of brutality
Some 260 Malians expelled from Algeria in a massive swoop against illegal African migrants arrived home Sunday to Monday accusing Algerian security forces of brutality and saying many had been hurt and some killed. There was no independent or official confirmation available and Algerian authorities offered no comment on the operation early this month when asked by AFP.
“We were beaten up and at least three Malians were killed,” said Ousmane Coulibaly, who was among those gathered at a government office who had returned to Mali overnight. He said the Algerian forces were “racist”. Rounded up in “a big yard” after their arrest in the capital, Algiers, some of the Malians hurt their heads against walls and iron bars when trying to escape from being beaten, Coulibaly said. “Others were hurt and one died during the transfer from Algiers to Tamanrasset and the Niger border,” he said. The oasis city in southern Algeria, in the Ahaggar Mountains, is the biggest city before reaching the Niger and Mali borders.
Moussa Kante, who was also deported, confirmed the allegations and added that the group “lacked water and food.”“When we were being sent to Niger they gave us one loaf for 40 people,” he said. Deportees were sent to the NIger border by bus and then put on the road to the Niger capital, Niamey, “in trucks generally used to gather sand,” said 22-year-old Oumar. Some said they had been expelled despite having official papers and many claimed their money and phones had been seized.“We were arrested on the first” of December, said Youssouf Doumbia. “We asked people, and the army, why we were arrested. They told us they were vaccinating people.” —AFP