[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
LANGUAGES
Somali
French
Swahili
Great Lakes
Hausa
Portuguese
Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Djibouti rounds up immigrants
Jonah Fisher
BBC, Djibouti

The government in the small East African state of Djibouti have moved to catch and expel illegal immigrants who ignored its midnight deadline to leave the country.

Djibouti refugee camp
Most of the refugees come from Somalia and Ethiopia

A large military presence was on the streets of the capital on Tuesday morning, detaining all those without identity papers.

Before this new initiative, some 15% of Djibouti's population were thought to be illegal immigrants, mainly from neighbouring Ethiopia and Somalia.

An eyewitness told me that at 0400 on Tuesday morning the army and police occupied Rue Nelson Mandela and took all those who did not have papers to the central police station.

"There were a lot of people found in Ambouli neighbourhood, they filled four lorries."

Unemployment

All over town similar stories are being told as the Djiboutian government demonstrates that it is serious about removing the thousands of illegal immigrants who ignored its deadline to leave.

Unemployment among Djiboutians is approaching 50% and the immigrants are blamed for taking jobs and causing crime.

When the deadline was announced 90% of the Somalis and Ethiopians who come here to work are thought to have simply packed their bags and returned home.

At the moment it appears the interior minister is honouring his promise not to search people's houses.

The illegal immigrants detained will be expelled and delivered back to their country of origin.




SEE ALSO:
Migrants defy Djibouti ban
15 Sep 03  |  Africa
US denies Djibouti pressure
05 Sep 03  |  Africa
War on terror Africa-style
21 Feb 03  |  Africa


RELATED BBCi LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific