The fourth group of 79 refugees and asylum-seekers evacuated from Libya detention centers arrived in Rwanda late Thursday, the ministry of refugees said.
Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, the refugees were taken to designated transit hotels for COVID-19 tests, and will be taken to Gashora emergency transit center in Bugesera District, south-central Rwanda, after getting their results, Olivier Kayumba, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Emergency Management, told national broadcaster Radio Rwanda.
Since last year, Rwanda has received 306 refugees and asylum-seekers evacuated from Libya, and 121 of them have been resettled in other countries such as Canada and Sweden, said Kayumba.
In September 2019, the Rwandan government said it will “soon” receive 500 African refugees and asylum-seekers living in Libyan detention centers after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a transit mechanism for evacuating refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores, due to insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 ouster and killing of its leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Shelters in Libya are overcrowded with thousands of illegal immigrants rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan security services, despite repeated international calls to close those centers.