Algerian security forces arrested in the past 48 hours hundreds of clandestine immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and gathered them in "temporary residence centers" in the capital.
“Around 2,500 migrants will be deported on Thursday and Friday to six countries, which are Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Liberia and Equatorial Guinea,” a government source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The source, who works in the Department of Security in Algiers and is specialized in the foreign illegal migrants file, said that the gendarmerie arrested them during an overnight raid in the capital Algiers and the neighboring municipality.
A large number of children and women were among the detainees. Migrants were arrested from construction workshops and some others were in the homes of Algerian citizens.
The source added that dozens of African migrants changed their places of residence after news of the deportation of illegal migrants spread through social media. This consequently prevented their arrest.
The authorities declared that they “are determined to transfer all illegal migrants to their countries."
"Algeria has carried out these operations against immigrants on the basis of an agreement with their governments," the source added.
Witnesses said that some unknown assailants attacked a group of migrants using knives inside a newly constructed house in the area of Ain al-Bunyan west of the capital. Police intervened to rescue them.
The detainees were transferred to various police stations in the capital, where their fingerprints were taken and their identity cards were seized. They were then taken to "temporary centers" located in the western suburb of Algiers.
Migrants are expected to be transported to the far south of the country by buses of the Algerian Red Crescent, which oversees the deportation process.
Algeria deals with illegal African migrants from a “security mindset,” unlike the thousands of Syrian refugees.
Security officials are wary of the possibility that the African migrants may be involved in terrorist activities, which is why their fingerprints and photographs were taken before their deportation.