Africa vows to return trapped migrants in Libya

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-30 22:50:29|Editor: pengying
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This photo taken on Nov. 30, 2017 shows the press conference after the closing of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. The 5th African Union-European Union Summit concluded on Thursday, focusing on youth development, illegal immigration and regional security. (Xinhua/Lyu Shuai)

ABIDJAN, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- European and African nations on Thursday pledged to stem illegal migration and bring back thousands of African migrants trapped in Libya.

"We've made firm decisions for immediate repatriation of refugees ... Various countries have established a special force to fight human traffickers," said Guinean President Alpha Conde at the closing of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit in Abidjan, economic capital of Cote d'Ivoire.

Conde, also AU Chairman, called for bringing to book the human traffickers and charging them with "crime against humanity."

On Wednesday, nine European and African nations, along with the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), agreed to urgently evacuate African migrants trapped in Libya.

On the number of migrants needing repatriation, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, said 3,800 migrants, mostly from West Africa, have been found in just one migrant camp in Libya, which has at least 42 such camps.

Despite the official theme of "investing in youth for a sustainable future," issues of migration and terrorism have dominated discussions at the two-day forum, which took place as Europe seeks relief from its migrant crisis and frequent terror attacks.

A recent footage revealing enslavement of African migrants in Libya, a transit hub for migrants trying to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe, also triggered an outcry in Africa. Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, at the opening of the summit, called for ending "the practice that belongs to another age."

Africa has the world's youngest population, 60 percent of whom being under the age of 25, but high unemployment coupled with instability and disasters have fueled migration to neighboring Europe.

The summit has renewed calls for creating more jobs and enhancing training for Africa's youths, as Europe hopes to see young Africans shunning illegal immigration and terrorist recruitment.

Dozens of leaders from the EU, the AU and their member states, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Jacob Zuma, attended the summit.

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