Al­ge­ria shuts south­ern bor­ders to Syr­i­ans over se­cu­rity fears

The Miracle - - National & Int -

Al­ge­ria has banned all Syr­i­ans from en­ter­ing the coun­try via its south­ern bor­ders, hours af­ter a rights group re­ported that 50 Syr­i­ans and Pales­tini­ans had been de­ported to neigh­bour­ing Niger in the last week. Hassen Kacimi, the head of mi­grants pol­icy at the in­te­rior min­istry, said that Syr­i­ans seek­ing refuge this way were sus­pected to be armed fight­ers. “We have hosted 50,000 Syr­i­ans in the past few years for hu­man­i­tar­ian rea­sons,” Kacimi told Reuters news agency, al­lud­ing to refugees from Syria’s civil war. ”But we can­not ac­cept mem­bers of armed groups flee­ing from Syria when it comes to our se­cu­rity.”Al­ge­ria went through years of dev­as­tat­ing civil war with armed groups in the 1990s. While vi­o­lence is now greatly di­min­ished, spo­radic at­tacks con­tinue in iso­lated ar­eas.Kacimi said around 100 peo­ple had reached the south­ern bor­der with the help of lo­cal armed es­corts in re­cent weeks but were in­ter­cepted and ex­pelled shortly af­ter they slipped into Al­ge­ria.He said that the Syr­i­ans had tran­sited Turkey, Jor­dan, Egypt, Su­dan and Niger or Mali us­ing fake Su­danese pass­ports.“This is a crim­i­nal net­work and we must be very vig­i­lant not to al­low them get into Al­ge­ria,” he added. Ear­lier on Wed­nes­day, a lo­cal hu­man rights group said Al­ge­rian au­thor­i­ties had de­ported 50 Pales­tini­ans and Syr­i­ans on De­cem­ber 25 and De­cem­ber 26. Ac­cord­ing to La Ligue Al­ge­ri­enne pour la De­fense des Droits de l’Homme (LADDH), the ma­jor­ity of the refugees were Syr­ian na­tion­als and were trans­ferred via buses to Niger. Al­ge­ria’s south and south­east are largely empty desert re­gions but it has beefed up its se­cu­rity pres­ence there af­ter neigh­bour­ing Libya and north­ern Mali and Niger fell into the hands of var­i­ous armed fac­tions.

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