Rabat – Morocco has finally begun to evacuate its nationals who were stranded in the northwestern Libyan city of Zouara, announced Ministry in charge of Moroccans Living Abroad in a statement on Friday.
The first group to be repatriated is composed of 235 Moroccan migrants, who arrived this morning around 4 a.m at Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca on a Royal Air Maroc aircraft allocated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Migration Affairs.
The migrants were then transferred by bus to their hometowns, which included Beni Mellal, Khouribga, and Guercif. Three migrants from Guercif were transported to the hospital for medical examinations, according to a source at the airport.
The rest of Moroccan migrants will be repatriated “as soon as possible,” promised the ministry.
According to Moroccan authorities, this mission was conducted in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, through the Consular and Social Affairs Directorate and with the relevant parties.
The statement added that representatives of the Moroccan embassy in Tunis crossed the Tunisian-Libyan border to reach Zouara, in order “to undertake all preliminary procedures to identify the persons stranded in this area.”
This is the second repatriation operation that Moroccan authorities have conducted, after one in August which brought back about 200 citizens in two private aircrafts.
The large group of Moroccans were stranded in Libya after their attempts to cross the Mediterranean to Europe failed. They found themselves the subject of human trafficking by smugglers before being detained by Libyan forces in Tripoli and the center of Zouara.
In several videos, the migrants had called for help to put an end to their detention and mistreatment in Libya. They urged Moroccan authorities to take them back home as soon as possible.
Dozens of families of Moroccan migrants missing or detained in Libya had protested in late November in Rabat to ask the authorities to repatriate their relatives, whose number was estimated between 200 and 700.