Algeria halts migrant expulsions to Sahara after outrage

PARIS (AP) — Algeria’s deadly expulsions of migrants into the Sahara Desert have nearly ground to a halt after widespread condemnation and the abrupt firing of two of its top security officials.

Officials with the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration said the expulsions to the desert borders that Algeria shares with Niger and Mali have all but ended since The Associated Press reported more than 13,000 people had been dropped there since May 2017, including women and children.

The expulsions came as Europe is pressuring North African governments to halt migrants before they cross the Mediterranean.

An aid worker with contacts in Algeria told The AP the mass detentions are continuing, but now migrants, including dozens of pregnant women, are being warehoused in overcrowded jails. The worker requested anonymity to avoid retribution from the Algerian government.