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MMC West Africa 4Mi Snapshot – July 2020 Detention of migrants and refugees in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger

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This snapshot provides an overview of 4Mi data in relation to the detention of migrants and refugees in West Africa. It is based on 3,094 4Mi interviews conducted between June and November 2019, 30% of which were with women. Interviews took place in Mali (Kayes, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu and Ber), Niger (Niamey, Diffa, Agadez, N’guimi and Tillabéri) and Burkina Faso (Dori, Bobo Dioulasso and Kantchari). The main nationalities interviewed were Guinean (12%), Nigerian (12%), Burkinabe (12%), Malian (10%), Ivorian (10%) and Nigerien (9%).

Profiles of detained migrants and refugees

9% (n=291) of respondents reported having been detained at least once. 96% were aged between 18 and 42, with 24% of them aged between 28 and 32. Respondents who have been detained identified 62% as Muslim and 36% as Christian, the same proportion as the overall sample. 14% reported witnessing detention of minors under 18.
The main nationalities of those reporting to have been detained were Guinean (12%), Nigerien (12%), Burkinabe (11%) and Malian (10%), which matches the overall sample with the exception of Niger, for which the proportion of detainees is slightly higher. A majority (72%) were working before undertaking their journey, mainly in services (39%) or as labourers (19%), and 91% left for economic reasons. 69% of the respondents who reported being detained had been travelling for two months or more. 50% had been detained more than once. 43% of respondents reporting to have been detained were aiming to reach European countries (mainly Italy 12%, Spain 10%, and France 9%), while 18% mentioned Algeria and 7% Libya as their destination country, which again reflects the overall sample.
No significant differences were observed between men and women regarding the likelihood of being detained.