African Union to bring 20,000 migrants home from Libya

The African Union has said in a statement that it aims to bring 20,000 Africans home in the next six weeks as it ups its goal to repatriate stranded migrants from Libya.

A CNN report last month showing black Africans being sold as slaves in Libya sparked outrage across the world and pressure was mounted to the continental body and individual African states to get their citizens out of the country.

The African Union had earlier said it wanted to repatriate 15,000 migrants by the year’s end, but increased its goal after a task force – including AU, European Union and United Nations officials — met earlier this week.

“The immediate focus of the task force will be on the repatriation, within the next six weeks, of the 20,000 migrants currently in identified government-controlled detention centres who have expressed the wish to leave Libya,” the AU said in a statement received Thursday.

There are plans to organize consular services for stranded migrants and landing rights for airlines that can fly migrants out of Libya, the statement said.

Nigeria, which is, the source of the majority of undocumented migrants trying to reach Europe from Libya, has so far brought home 144 people.

Rwanda has also offered to take in as many as 30,000 migrants who have suffered abuse and slave-like conditions in Libya.