46 Malian irregular migrants arrived by a flight of the Ethiopian Airlines Company in Bamako on Thursday 27 December 2018 after long term imprisonment in detention centres in Luanda, Angola's capital city. Received at the airport by the minister of Malians abroad and African integration, Yaya Sangaré, the 46 Malian nationals including 9 women, were added to the 9,850 other migrants repatriated since May 2017. This figure exceeds the triennial forecasts of the World Organization for Migration.
The repatriation was organized by the government of Mali, who said they would look after the 46 migrants, according to minister Yaya Sangaré. "All necessary measures will be taken in collaboration with other relevant departments to provide the assistance required for a better socio-economic reintegration of our compatriots. Mali remains committed to helping all its distressed children around the world," added the Minister.
One of the migrants repatriated from Angola, Aboubacar Diane, told 7Dnews: "I was stopped by men in uniform when I was on my motorcycle. They asked me for money and I replied that I did not have money. That's how they handcuffed me in a detention centre where I was locked up for 49 days without any rights. I could not see anyone who might help me out of this hell and I started to think that I would be spending the rest of my life there. Today, I thank and congratulate the government of Mali for recovering my freedom. On the other hand, I urge them to continue their efforts to achieve the release of several other dozens of Malian migrants who are still imprisoned in degrading conditions in Angola. "
Another migrant, a 31-year -old woman, Saran Tigana, also complained about her treatment in Angola. "I was stripped of all my resources when I was arrested to my home and then locked up in the Trinida detention center in Luanda for 37 days. The prison guards subjected me to all sorts of humiliations and I'm carrying everywhere on my body, the aftermath of the atrocities they inflicted on me daily despite my incessant cries of supplication. I thought I was not going to find my children that I had entrusted to my aunt before leaving for the exodus in Angola. Every day, I was just crying in prison because I couldn't feel anymore hope. I am grateful to the Malian authorities for taking me out of this horrible situation even though I lost everything saved for three years of my stay."
The minister added that the government of Mali was in negotiation with the Libyan authorities to facilitate the process of repatriation or the regularization of Malians. And talks are also continuing with the Angolan authorities so that Malians may work there or return easily if they wish to come home. The minister said he would warn Malians against travelling by irregular means, as it was risk to Malian citizens, and could lead to hardship and suffering, said the minister.