Rwanda agrees deal to take in hundreds of African migrants

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Rwanda has agreed to take in hundreds of African migrants who are currently being held in Libyan detention centres.

A joint agreement between the government, the UN refugee agency (UNHRC) and the African Union (AU) was announced on Tuesday.

An initial group of 500 people will be evacuated by aeroplane to Rwanda in the coming weeks, a statement said.

That group, which includes children and vulnerable young people, is mainly made up of refugees from the Horn of Africa.

Thousands of migrants head to Libya each year to try and make the dangerous crossing over the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.

Those who fail are often held in detention centres. According to the UN, about 4,700 people urgently need to be moved to safety from these centres where conditions are said to be dire.

Why has Rwanda agreed to this?

Rwanda first made an offer to give refuge to the migrants in November 2017. It came after CNN released video that showed men in Libya being auctioned off as slaves.

Germaine Kamayirese, Rwanda’s minister of refugee affairs, denied that the country was being paid to take in the migrants.

“It is just a humanitarian action,” she told reporters in the capital, Kigali. “Any African should aim to do the same. I don’t agree with those who are saying Rwanda has received any money from anyone”.

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