Ethiopian migrants at Bole Addis Ababa International Airport  after arriving from Libya on September 24, 2018 | Credit: IOM
Ethiopian migrants at Bole Addis Ababa International Airport after arriving from Libya on September 24, 2018 | Credit: IOM

A total of 76 Ethiopians stranded in Libya returned to their country through a voluntary repatriation program of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). It was the highest number of people repatriated from Libya so far.

On September 24, the UN agency for migration IOM helped 76 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Libya to return home. The group included 12 women, 64 men, four children and six people with mental illnesses, the organization said in a statement.


The migrants explained that they did not have the financial means to go back home without the organization's support. 

The migrants left from Zintan, Libya, and traveled through Cairo, in Egypt, before reaching Addis Abeba in Ethiopia. 

The 'northern migration route' 

Migrants from Ethiopia often choose what is known as the ''northern migration route'' - through Sudan, Egypt and Libya - with the intention of crossing the Mediterranean to reach a better life in Europe. 

However, many are captured by traffickers who force their family to pay a lot of money for their release. Many African migrants experienced the ordeal of being sold as slaves so they could pay a ransom to their kidnappers. 

Even if the migrants survive the ordeals in transit, it does not guarantee that they are able to reach Europe: a reported 1,733 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far this year (as of October 1, 2018).

102 Ethiopians repatriated from Libya since August 2017 

Since August 2017, a program funded by the European Union enabled 102 Ethiopian migrants return home from Libya. As part of the program, Ethiopians repatriated from Djibouti, Sudan, Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia and South Africa were assisted upon their arrival. Last week, the highest number of people were repatriated from Libya under the program. 

Migrants receive assistance upon their arrival - with a place to sleep, medical screening, psychological support, transportation and a consultation - provided by the Center of transit for assisted voluntary repatriations of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

Funding for the repatriation of the 76 migrants from Libya was provided by the Italian government.
 

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