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Quarterly Mixed Migration Update West Africa, Quarter 1, 2022

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MMC
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Key Updates

• High-level visits to Niger: In February, Niger received visits from the Director General of IOM and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and in a separate mission, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Both delegations met with the president and other high-ranking government officials and made site visits, including to Agadez.

• Anti-smuggling operation in Niger: In January, the Nigerien police arrested approximately twenty people in Niamey and Maradi in connection to smuggling of migrants. They were implicated in document fraud and the organization of plane transport to Europe using these false documents

• Senegal FRONTEX proposal: During a visit to Senegal by a delegation from the EU, the Commissioner for Home Affairs proposed an operational deployment of Frontex to Senegal. Should the Senegalese government accept the EU’s offer, it would be the first time Frontex would operate outside of Europe with its own personnel. Senegal’s Interior Minister has agreed to undertake “technical discussions” on the offer.

• Cross borders movements and internal displacement continue unabated in the region: In the first quarter, some 17,677 people entered Niger’s western regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua from Mali. During the month of March, ongoing violence and banditry in northwestern Nigeria drove around 8,629 people into the Maradi region of Niger. In Burkina Faso the first quarter of the year saw the second biggest spike in internal displacement since the beginning of conflict there, with 160,000 people displaced in January alone.

• Canary Islands arrivals: There was an increase in irregular arrivals to Spain in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the corresponding period of 2021. The majority of these were to the Canary Islands, which as of 31 March had documented 5,871 arrivals, a 71% increase over the first quarter of 2021.

• Expulsions into Niger: Based on figures from the NGO Alarme Phone Sahara, some 8,207 people were expelled from Algeria to Niger in the first quarter of the year.1 While exact numbers are not clear, hundreds of people were also expelled from Libya into Niger during this period.