The arrests took place a week ago, when the migrants were rounded up at their places of work, in their homes, or in the streets of the Algerian capital.
“After that, migrants were taken to a camp on the outskirts,” said RFI. “From this camp dozens of buses headed to the city of Tamanrasset in the extreme south of the country.”
The migrants were told by local authorities that they would be taken to the “desert,” without specifying where they would be released, added the French news outlet. The refusal of some migrants to get into the vehicles was met with violence by security forces, noted that there were multiple nationalities among the freshly-arrested group.
The crackdown on migrants from sub-Saharan Africa is subject to repeated controversy in Algeria.
Last week indignation rose when the governorate of Mostaganem in northwestern Algeria banned sub-Saharan migrants from taking public transportation.
The ban was withdrawn after it was heavily criticized on the media as a form “state racism.”
However, the incident brought to mind previous mistreatment of sub-Saharan migrants in the country by high local officials.
In July, the current Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia labeled migrants as “criminals” and transmitters of HIV.
The fresh wave of arrests also recalled the massive crackdown in December where approximately 15,000 migrants were arrested, deported to Niger, or left out in the desert, according to RFI.
The massive operation, in which migrants were taken from their places of work or residence and shoved into buses, was described by some local and foreign media outlets as a “shameful hunt for the black man.” Human Rights Watch said that Algeria had given itself a license to act in “lawlessness.”