A group of 121 migrants from Cameroon have returned home from Libya. The migrants were flown home on a charter flight as part of a program promoted by the European Union.
The Cameroonian migrants returned home from Libya to start a new life with assistance from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the EU.
The returnees left Libya on April 19 and were welcomed at Nsimalen international airport in the capital Yaoundé, by representatives from the European Union Delegation, Cameroon's Ministry of External Relations and Boubacar Seybou, IOM Chief of Mission in Cameroon.
"The worst nightmare in Libya"
"I have lived the worst nightmare in Libya, moving for nine months from prison to prison. And now that I'm back, I ask myself what pushed me outside Cameroon," one of returnees told IOM staff at the airport.
Upon arrival, the returnees received medical check-ups including psychological support from the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs. The IOM provided food assistance and distributed a delivery kit to pregnant women, which included clothes, basins, and towels.
EU-IOM initiative to protect migrants
The charter flight was organized within the framework of the EU-IOM Joint initiative for migrant protection and reintegration in Cameroon, financed by the European Union and implemented by IOM. This project aims to strengthen the mechanisms for migrant protection and assistance all along the migration route. So far 1,357 Cameroonians (1,105 men, 252 women) have returned home under the initiative.
In addition to facilitating the voluntary return of Cameroonian migrants, the EU-IOM joint initiative also focuses on supporting returnees' reintegration in the country and on raising awareness on the risks of irregular migration.
The programme's operations in Cameroon started in June 2017 and so far 184 returnees have been supported to start their livelihood activities. In addition, the business plans of more than 700 migrants have been approved as of the end of March, and the migrants will soon receive the material they need to start activities in fields such as agriculture, livestock breeding and retail, among others.