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Migrants Stuck in No Man’s Land Due to Pandemic

Tens of thousands of migrants are trapped in dangerous conditions at frontiers, mines, ports and in transit camps across Africa after states shut their borders in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19. Some have been abandoned by smugglers unable to take them further on their journeys to Europe or elsewhere. Others were returning home or moving across the continent in search of work when frontiers were closed in March. They include large numbers of Chadian students stranded in Cameroon, about 1,800 Nigerien workers stuck in remote goldmining areas in Burkina Faso, and more than 1,000 migrants from Mali and Senegal trapped in Mauritania. In east Africa, about 2,300 migrants are stranded in Djibouti after being abandoned by traffickers. Most were hoping to cross the Red Sea to Yemen and then reach Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in search of work. The migrants are among the marginalised communities who are most vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many are women and children.