The Somali government and the UN refugee agency on Saturday evacuated 11 migrants from Libya who had been held in areas controlled by militia.
Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia Mahdi Mohamed Guled who received the migrants in Mogadishu said the government is committed to bringing back refugees in some countries.
“Eleven migrants were brought from Libya and came here in peace, we are planning to bring 30 others from Libya soon,” Guled said.
He added that the government has returned prisoners and Somali migrants back from Ethiopia, Seychelles and India earlier.
Photos and videos of Somalis tortured in smugglers’ camps outraged the public in Somalia, prompting President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to order the evacuation of Somali migrants allegedly enslaved in Libya.
The migrants thanked the Somali government for coming to their rescue and for bringing them back to their motherland after years of a dangerous situation in Libyan.
“I was away for over two years. I passed through Ethiopia, Sudan, and Libya. I was beaten, and robbed three times,” Mohamed Abdirahman Mohamud, one of the migrants, told reporters after landing.
According to reports, Libya’s Bani Walid is a hotspot for smugglers moving migrants from sub-Saharan countries to the coast, where they then board boats in dangerous sea journeys to Italy.