Niger Suspends Arab Expulsions

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Niger suspending Arab expulsions
Niger’s government has suspended a controversial decision to deport thousands of Arabs back to Chad.

The Mahamid Arabs, who are mostly nomads with animals, have lived in arid areas of Niger for several decades.

The communications minister told Reuters news agency that neighbouring countries intervened to request a halt to the expulsions begun on Thursday.

The Mahamid were accused of wrongdoing, including theft and rape, but critics say the move was politically motivated.

The Niger government initially said it was expelling more than 150,000 people who, it said, were in the country illegally.

The French foreign ministry said later that the actual figure was more likely to be around 4,000.

Many of the Mahamid crossed into Niger more than 30 years ago to escape drought, famine and fighting in Chad.

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Read more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6091840.stm


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