(1 Mar 2017) LEADIN
Thousands of sub-Saharan migrants are fleeing to Algeria every year.
Some go to escape war or find work while others are there to continue their journey to Europe.
Since the war in Mali in 2012 around 100,000 migrants from sub-Saharan countries such as Mali, Niger, Senegal and Burkino Faso are believed to have fled to Algeria.
Some seek sanctuary from conflict, famine and tough living conditions with their families while others such as Mahmoud come for work.
He came from Guinea but says living and finding employment here in Algeria is very difficult:
“As you know we’re not fine here, the situation is not good, we don’t have anywhere to sleep. Algerians don’t host us in apartments or hotels, we sleep on construction sites, all the black people here have no housing. Bosses block our money, they apply taxes if we want to send our money to Mali or Senegal.”
However Mamadou, a migrant from Mali, has found his new life in Algeria more manageable:
“We’re here to work and save money, we’ll go back. Algerians are friendly. It’s not a problem for money here thanks to the Algerians. There are always good and bad people.”
While employment is the motivation for many, getting a work permit can prove difficult so some end up working illegally.
Meanwhile many others use Algeria as a stop-off point on their long journey to a new life in Europe.
But Hassan Traore, a migrant from Mali, says Algeria is far more appealing since he prefers to stay in Africa:
“Until today Europe has depended on Africa. Let’s use France as an example. It has nothing underground. But Africa is rich. Everything Europeans and westerners use came from Africa”, he says.
And after the widely reported deaths of so many migrants travelling by boat he adds that staying in Algeria is a far safer option:
“It’s not important to go to Europe and die at sea. There are thousands who drown in the water from around the world. Human beings drowning in water is a big problem. We should all avoid it”, he warns.
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