Rwanda welcomes first group of 66 African refugees from Libya
London, Sep 27, 2019 (AltAfrica)-A group of 66 African refugees and asylum-seekers arrived in Kigali late Thursday, the UN said, the first of what could be thousands relocated from Libya under a new programme.
According to a tweet by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) Libya, “All refugees arrived safe and were welcomed by UNHCR staff and local authorities.”
🛬 Just landed!— UNHCR Libya (@UNHCRLibya) September 26, 2019
All refugees arrived to Kigali airport safe and sound & are being welcomed by UNHCR staff and local authorities.
Special thanks goes to all the people of Rwanda 🇷🇼 who have been sharing heartwarming welcome messages all day long. pic.twitter.com/tfa5vFNxwy
The African Union (AU) and UNHCR signed a deal with Rwanda earlier this month agreeing to take in African refugees and asylum-seekers stranded in Libya.
Although the UN says some 42, 000 refugees are currently in Libya, the Rwandan government said it is prepared to accommodate as many as 30,000 evacuees. However, the plan is for the programme to unfold in batches of 500 to prevent the country of 12 million from feeling overwhelmed.
According to a UN official, a subsequent flight carrying 125 people is planned for “between 10-12 October”.
Libya became a key transit point for sub-Saharan African migrants seeking to embark on dangerous journeys to Europe following the fall and killing of former dictator Mammar Kadhafi.