By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - African Union has so far repatriated a total of 12,708 migrants from Libya after the African Union-European Union Summit held in Abidjan’s city of Ivory Coast in December 2017, an official said.
Amira El Fadil, AU Social Affairs Commissioner, made the announcement in a news conference on the sidelines of the African Foreign Ministers’ meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Friday.
The ministers are meeting to prepare agenda for Leaders' summit scheduled for Sunday.
"The European Union gave Africa $100 million for the repatriation of migrants from Libya," El Fadil said. "Our target is to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya under this program."
A media footage -- which showed trade of “slaves” in Libya -- sent shockwaves across the African continent, with some blaming it on the EU’s policy of preventing migrants from crossing the Mediterranean.
However, the commissioner said the Abidjan summit drafted a policy for dialogue between the Pan-African organization and the EU to promote legal migration.
“There are 621,706 migrants currently in Libya [and] migrants from African countries [575,569] constitute the majority, representing 93% of total migrants present in Libya.”
“Libya hosts migrants from 31 different African nations, and the majority of them are located in the West of the country (82,220 in Tripoli, 84,873 in Almagreb and 76,012 in Misrata),” she added.
When asked about the “slave trade” in Libya, she said it was perpetrated by criminal groups.
“We have a network of criminals; they work together,” she said and added only a few out of 54 identified detention centers across Libya are under the control of the government.
The majority of those centers, according to her, are under the control of the criminal groups.