On November 30, 2020, an Air Algerie plane with 75 passengers (52 of them being Cameroonians who are potential illegal immigrants) on board landed at Yaounde-Nsimalen International Airport.
They were repatriated through the government and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). "The peculiarity is that this is the first time we are welcoming people directly from Algeria through a charter flight. This is something we must salute," said Dr. Boubacar Seybou, head of the IOM mission in Cameroon, according to numerous media.
"Thanks to the flexibility of Cameroon and Algeria, migrants in distress wishing to return to their country were able to do so in dignity and without being put in difficult situations," he added.
Because of the health crisis, the migrants underwent Covid-19 tests. Those tested negative are temporarily lodged in a hotel and will soon go to their respective families, we learn.
This voluntary return is part of the European Union Trust Fund (EU TFEU)-IOM initiative for the protection and reintegration of migrants, launched in Cameroon in 2017.
Requested by the Cameroonian government and implemented by the IOM thanks to EU funding, this initiative aims in particular to ensure the protection, return, and sustainable reintegration of migrants.
According to the Ministry of External Relations (Minrex), thousands of people leave Cameroon in search of a better life in Europe. They try to clandestinely leave through countries like Algeria, Niger, Morocco, and Libya.
The IOM informs that to date, it has facilitated the return of more than 4400 Cameroonian migrants, while over 2500 of them have started income-generating activities.