Algeria is preparing for worst-case scenarios, due to the deterioration of conditions in the Sahel.
Mounting concerns over border security led Algeria to toughen its stance towards illegal immigrants.
But more than just refugees try to cross borders in times of conflict.
“Smugglers follow the same routes, and terrorist groups that thrive in these huge areas also benefit,” says the officer.
“So the Algerian government has made a choice between humanitarian considerations and security considerations,” the border guard adds.
The first convoy of 300 Nigerien illegal immigrants sent out of Algeria, mostly children and women, arrived Tuesday night (December 10th) in Arlit.
In total, some 3,000 migrants “unemployed and who unfortunately live by begging”, should be repatriated from Algeria, Nigerien Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said a fortnight ago.
The migrant issue is part of Algeria’s broad-reaching security strategy. Over the past few months, not a day has gone by without the defence ministry publishing news of arrests of illegal migrants, smugglers and even terrorists in border regions.