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Niger junta revokes Europe anti-migration law

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Niger military rulers order UN official out within 72 hours EU decides on sanctioning Niger military junta

Niger’s junta stated on Monday that it has revoked an anti-migration law that had helped restrict the flow of West Africans to Europe but was hated by desert inhabitants whose businesses had long relied on the movement.

The law making it illegal to transport migrants through Niger was passed in May 2015, as the number of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa reached record highs, causing a political and humanitarian crisis in Europe, with governments under pressure to stop the influx.

Niger’s junta, which took power in a coup in July, abolished the law on Saturday and announced it on state television on Monday evening.

The junta is reassessing its connections with previous Western friends who criticized the coup, as well as attempting to shore up domestic support, particularly in northern desert towns that gained the most from migration.

The law reduced the number of migrants passing through Niger, a major transit country on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, but the change drained the lifeblood from towns and villages that had fed and housed migrants and sold car parts and fuel to traffickers.

In response, the European Union established the 5 billion euro Trust Fund for Africa in 2015 with the goal of addressing the core causes of migration, but many saw it as insufficient.

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Unemployment skyrocketed in locations like Agadez, a major entrance to the Sahara.

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