Rwanda offers to resettle 30,000 African migrants trapped in Libya

Rwanda could host up to 30,000 African migrants currently stuck in Libya where they are exposed to all forms of abuse, including being sold openly in slave markets.

Speaking with New Times, a Rwandan newspaper, on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said that talks were currently under way with the African Union Commission.

Mushikiwabo said Rwanda, despite not having many resources, was stepping in to offer logistical support for those willing to return to their countries of origin and give sanctuary to those not willing to return to their home countries.

“What I expect and know is that Rwandans will welcome these people. As Rwandans we are sensitive to people who are helpless and have no way of protecting themselves. It is something that is deep in ourselves, we take pride in human beings,” said Mushikiwabo who is also the Government Spokesperson.

Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo talking about her country’s offer to host immigrants trapped in Libya / Photo: Sam Ngendahimana/New Times


“It takes means to take care of people, to provide them food and shelter and give them a normal life. That is the part that we have to work on, but judging by the reception so far, most people in the country are happy to be of help. We are not ready to take in all the 400,000 immigrants but we are willing to play our part.”

So far, discussions between Rwanda and the AU Commission have agreed on 30,000 immigrants, which could be revised depending on how the talks proceed.

The African Union Commission chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed appreciation of Rwanda’s gesture and called on other African governments and private sector to play a role in helping out those trapped.

“I am deeply appreciative of the offer made by the government of Rwanda to resettle up to 30,000 African migrants languishing in Libya or transport those who wish to return to their countries of origin.

“I call on all African Member States, private sector and African citizens to pool resources and add the voices to support our brothers and sisters suffering in Libya,” he said in tweets sent out on Thursday.

Adira Kallo

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