3,000 arrested as Djibouti addresses migrant influx

Djibouti (Caasimada Online) – In an effort to protect the “well-being and safety of its population,” Djibouti’s government announced a crackdown on irregular migration on Sunday.

Interior Minister Said Nouh Hassan addressed the nation via a televised speech, stating that the strategic Horn of Africa nation had become “saturated” by an influx of individuals from neighboring countries, with 220,000 arriving “illegally” in 2022 alone.

“The security forces were forced this Sunday… to carry out an emergency operation to combat crime and the trafficking of illicit goods observed in a certain sector of Djibouti city,” Hassan said.

State-run television RTD reported that approximately 3,000 people had been detained in the operation and taken to deportation centers. They will be transported in trucks back to their countries of origin.

“These operations will continue throughout the territory,” Hassan added.

Irregular migrants facing new rules

Djibouti, which has a population of around one million, lies along a perilous migration route from Africa for individuals fleeing conflict, climate disasters, or seeking a better life.

In response to the growing crisis, Hassan said that irregular migrants employed in the informal sector could register and be provided with “circulation documents,” provided their employers declared them to local authorities.

For those without work, the Interior Minister encouraged them “to return immediately and voluntarily to their country of origin.”

He set a 30-day deadline for irregular migrants to comply with the new rules.

Concerns over illegal immigrants

“Illegal immigrants are like a time bomb in Djibouti; there are so many of them,” an unemployed 45-year-old named Bilan told AFP, declining to provide his full name.

Bilan’s statement reflects the growing concerns of Djibouti’s citizens over the rising number of migrants entering the country.

With the government’s new crackdown and enforcement measures, it remains to be seen how the situation will unfold and its impact on Djibouti and the region at large.