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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Invincible Financier


Hi there ūüĎčūüŹľ,

In this week's edition of African Diaspora Weekly, we dive into Europe's bold financial moves to curb the migration crisis by investing in North Africa. Plus, we're cheering for Uganda’s Halima Nakaayi, who’s blazing a trail with her world-leading race time ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Chief Editor,

Sonia Salim Swalhe

By S. Waziri Hassan

A story of a Tunisian guard and a Cameroonian migrant has made headlines among humanitarian groups. The Tunisian ¬†official said to Francois, a 38 year old Cameroonian and other group of Black migrants. ‚ÄúThere is Algeria, follow the light. If you are seen here, you will be shot.‚ÄĚ

Using patrol boats donated by Italy, Tunisian authorities are blocking the sea route to Lampedusa. Fast RIBs ‚Äėrigid inflatable boats‚Äô normally intercepts the migrant boats before transferring them to patrol boats. The patrol boats eventually return to the port of Sfax in Tunisia where migrants are dropped off.

Francois, a 38 year old from Cameroon, has set off four times in overcrowded boats from Tunisian coast in the hopes of reaching Europe. All four times, he was picked up at sea and returned to land. On his last attempt, Francois and his wife (Awa) and his stepson (Adam), had been intercepted by the Tunisian coast guard in the Mediterranean blue waters. Still wet and cold, the group of 30 migrants, including pregnant women, were ordered to walk toward their punishment ‚ÄėDesert‚Äô.

Their ordeal- an exodus of at least 340 miles from sea to dunes, recounted by Francois and verified by matching GPS tracking on his phone with images and videos he captured during the nine days of pilgrimage, illustrates one example of the draconian practices being deployed in at least three North African nations to dissuade sub-Saharan migrants from risky crossings to Europe.

These clandestine operations targeting caravans of Black migrants have a silent financier ‚ÄúEurope‚ÄĚ.

A year long joint investigation by international media houses like Lighthouse Reports, Le Monde, The Washington post, AP, Reuters show, Individual European nations are supporting and financing aggressive operations by governments in North Africa to detain migrants and dump them in remote areas, often the barren Sahara;

European funds have been used to train personnel and buy equipment for units implicated in desert dumps and human rights abuses, records and interviews show. Migrants have been pushed back into the most inhospitable parts of Sahara, exposing them to abandonment with no water and food, extortion, torture, slavery, sexual violence and even death.

Spanish security forces in Mauritania photographed and reviewed lists of migrants before they were driven to Mali against their Will and left to wander for days in an area where violent Islamist groups operate and other nomadic tribal warlords operate, according to testimony and documents.

In Tunisia , Mauritania and Morocco, vehicles of the same make and model as those provided by European countries to local security forces round up Black migrants from streets or transport them from detention centers to remote regions, according to filmed footage, migrant testimonies, interviews with officials and verified images on social media.

European officials held internal discussions on some of the abusive practices since at least 2019, and were diminished to allegations in reports by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and FRONTEX, the European Union (E.U) border agency.

Between 2015 and 2021,The European Union has provided more than 400 million Euros to Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania, under its largest migration funds. The E.U. emergency Trust Fund for Africa, an initiative to foster local economic growth and stem migration. In addition, the E.U has funded many other projects that are difficult to quantify and track due to a lack of transparency in the European Union’s funding system.

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