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Libya expels Malian migrants

Claiming racism and brutality on the part of the Libyan authorities, some 280 Malian would-be migrants to the country arrived home Friday after being expelled by Tripoli.

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Some 280 Malian migrants have been expelled  from Libya, with two planeloads arriving in the space of a few hours, airport sources said Thursday.

The first planeload arrived late on Wednesday and a second with another 140 aboard landed on Thursday.

"In all 420 Malian nationals are affected by this expulsion measure," said a source close to the Malian African integration ministry.

"We are waiting for the others."

Some of those arriving complained of racism and brutality on the part of the Libyan authorities.

Libya is a frequent destination for sub-Saharan migrants hoping to enter Europe illegally but others seek to find work in the country.

In July 2007 it reached an agreement with the European Union on a stricter control of its borders and in February this week adopted a tougher approach to clandestine immigrants from the south.

The Libyan government estimates there are a million immigrants in the country, which has a population of 5.7 million, but the International Organization for Migration puts the figure at 1.5 to two million.

Tripoli says it exeplled 30,940 illegal immigrants last year, compared with 64,340 in 2006.
  

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