Diplomat: Algeria Deployed 80,000 Troops on Borders with Mali, Libya
Italian Ambassador in Algeria Pasquale Ferrara said that the Algerian army has deployed 80,000 troops on the southern borders (Mali and Niger) and the eastern borders (Libya).
Ferrara, who is currently visiting Rome for a conference on migration organized by LUISS University, revealed the existence of 500 thousand secret migrants south Algeria, coming from the west African Sahel region states.
Italian news agency, ANSA, quoted him as saying that large military reinforcements are deployed along Algeria's borders with its neighbors, which are more than 3,000 kilometers long, without giving further details.
This is the first time a statistics on the deployment of the Algerian army is announced in the context of the war declared by the authorities on terrorism and the smuggling of arms in the south.
The military usually avoids mentioning everything related to its personnel and equipment.
The head of the Italian diplomatic mission did not mention the source of this news, but he is likely to have known these info from his meetings with Algerian officials.
Algerian authorities often deal sensitively with foreign diplomats when they engage in media with defense and security issues, particularly when it comes to publishing figures and statistics.
Foreign ambassadors were often called in the foreign ministry because of "crossing red lines".
The government also acts sensitively when it comes to the issue of clandestine immigration and is being criticized by local and foreign human rights organizations.
Interior Minister Noureddine Badawi said in May that 500 people enter the country illegally from the southern border on daily basis, and the ministry pledged to "respect human rights" during the deportation of illegal immigrants.
This was an implicit response to the recent criticism of Algeria by international human rights organizations, which accused it of "insulting the dignity of foreign migrants" and "racism towards deported migrants."
Algeria has also been held accountable for this issue by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
On the other hand, Ferrara said that Italy is Algeria's main trading partner, with commercial exchange totaling nine billion dollars in 2017.
"There are 180 Italian companies in Algeria, but they are experiencing transitional era because of the policy of economic diversification adopted by the Algerian government,” he said.
The Italian diplomat said Italy can grow even more in Algeria, with potential in the areas of renewable energy and agribusiness as well as the traditional sectors of energy, technology, and large-scale construction.